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255353

Women in Ag: Timber!

When you hear the word agriculture, what comes to mind?

When I hear that word, I immediately think of cows, pigs, sheep, goats, row crops, fruits, and vegetables. I don’t think about trees.

The truth is, forestry is a huge part of the agriculture industry. According to the North Carolina Forestry Service, the forest products industry contributed more than $24 billion to my state’s economy in 2015. In North Carolina alone, there are 18 million acres of forestland; 14 million acres are privately owned.

My Farmer and I recently bought a farm that included timber. Soon after buying the land, we had the trees cut.

The previous owners had managed the timber, so we were lucky. The trees had been selectively harvested to remove lower quality trees, leaving a mature stand. We had the acreage clear cut, which means all the trees were cut down.  This is more efficient because it takes all the mature trees and any trees which are crooked, diseased, or inferior. I’ve learned a lot about forestry since we bought the farm, but I still have plenty to learn.

Logging site

My son really enjoyed watching the timber cut. Thanks to his John Deere for Kids videos, he knows the names of all the equipment used. Every morning, he asked me where the feller buncher was. (I’ve seen the videos too many times to count, so I actually know what a feller buncher is.) So every day, we rode by the farm so he could see the log harvesters and other equipment in action. On the last day, he got to ride in a skidder with his dad. 

It’s already been replanted with pines, so now we’ve added growing trees to our list of crops on the farm. 

What advice would you offer to a farmer now growing trees?

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