Pennsylvania Tree Farming Notes

Posted: July 7, 2014

An update from the Pennsylvania Tree Farm Committee

By Rich Bugher, State Administrator, Pennsylvania Tree Farm Committee

National Tree Farm Convention

As you are reading this issue of Forest Leaves, the Pennsylvania State Tree Farm Program will have just hosted the National Tree Farm Convention in Pittsburgh. Thanks to the efforts of a great many volunteers, it was a tremendous success. Special thanks go to Dave Jackson and Susan Benedict who co-chaired the convention committee and to John and Maureen Burnham who worked countless hours preparing to share their beautiful Tree Farm for the Field Day. As many of you already know, the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) has decided this is the final National Convention. Pennsylvania Tree Farmers can be proud of the effort the committee and volunteers put forth to make certain it was one the state can be proud of.

The Future of Pennsylvania’s Tree Farm Program

As we find in each of our lives, both personal and business, these are times of change and the State Tree Farm Program is no different. The ATFS has determined, in an effort to promote stewardship on America’s family woodlands, that one size does not fit all when it comes to individual states and the value of “certification.” Each state in the ATFS network needs to make a decision on their future, referring to the process as “State’s Voice, State Choice.” If you are a Tree Farmer and want to learn more to have a “voice” in this decision, we welcome your involvement. There will be a meeting in the State College area in September to discuss our options. A decision will likely come from this meeting that will direct the program’s future. Currently, all Tree Farmers in the State Tree Farm Program are third-party certified. The state may choose to maintain this status, which will initiate costs to the state program, and ultimately individual Tree Farmers. The state can decide to forgo third-party certification and focus on recognition and outreach. A third option involves a combination of these two. A forth option has been mentioned based on how many Tree Farmers remain in the state and that is whether the Tree Farm Program should continue in any form.

It’s your State. It’s your Choice… but we need to hear your Voice in order to make a decision. If you are interested in hearing more and having your voice heard, contact Dave Jackson ( or 814-355-4897), or email me ( and we will make certain you receive notification of the date and location of this very important meeting that will ultimately decide the future direction for the Pennsylvania Tree Farm Program.

For more information about the Pennsylvania Tree Farm Program, contact Rich Bugher, State Administrator, at 724-977-0867or, or visit the website: