Agriculture Press Release
December 10, 1999
Florida Christmas Tree Association Presents Trees
TALLAHASSEE The Florida Christmas Tree Association has presented "Fresh from Florida" Christmas trees to Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford and Gov. Jeb Bush at The Capitol.
Dean and Joyce Schnoor, of Whispering Pines Christmas Tree Farm in Santa Rosa County, won the honor of presenting a tree to Gov. Bush by being selected as the Florida Christmas Tree Associations champion growers for 1999. Mike and Melissa Ward, of Wards Christmas Tree Farm, which also is in Santa Rosa County, won the honor of presenting a tree to Commissioner Crawford by being selected as the Florida Christmas Tree Associations reserve champion growers for 1999.
The Schnoors are charter members of the Florida Christmas Tree Association and have been active in all aspects of the industry since the association was organized in 1979. After Dean Schnoor retired from the military, the Schnoors purchased part of the farm owned by Mrs. Schnoors parents. They planted their first Christmas trees in 1980 and have expanded the operation steadily. The "choose and cut" farm has more than 45,000 Christmas trees of the Florida sand pine, Leland cypress, Virginia pine and southern red cedar varieties.
Floridas reserve champion Christmas tree growers, Mike and Melissa Ward, own and operate Wards Christmas Tree Farm in Santa Rosa County. They started Christmas tree farming in 1992 on 20 acres and have expanded to 30 acres. The "choose and cut" farm has more than 25,000 Florida sand pine, Leland cypress, Virginia pine and southern red cedar Christmas trees.
The Florida Christmas Tree Association
The Florida Christmas Tree Association has more than 100 family members and represents Christmas tree producers statewide. The purpose and goals of the association include educating producers and promoting fresh, Florida-grown trees. Most Christmas tree farms in Florida are family-run, small businesses. Florida Christmas tree growers expect to sell more than 150,000 trees this holiday season for a cash farm income of more than $3 million.
The association has published a full-color brochure on Florida Christmas trees, a point-of-sale flyer, and a video about the industry with assistance from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. A toll-free telephone service (800)554-TREE provides information on Christmas tree farms in each area of Florida. The associations list of Christmas tree farms is also posted on the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services web site at http://www.fl-ag.com, click the heading "Christmas Trees."
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