Minnesota tree farmer Dave Medvecky is known for having an uncanny knack for match-making his trees to their final market purpose, be it a specialty woodworked object or a more typical product. He picks out unique tree parts for everything from turning bowls to lumber for flooring and paneling, using ingenuity to create the most value for his family’s Tree Farm.
I recently met Dave as part of the 20th annual National Tree Farmer Convention in Minneapolis; its ever-popular “field day” was held at the Medvecky Tree Farm and highlighted Minnesota’s ‘Goods from the Woods.’
In addition to tours of their forest and organic farming operation, the Medveckys assembled an array of woodworkers, vendors and other colleagues from Minnesota’s flourishing artisan timber culture. It was fascinating to experience these unique crafts and see how a specific kind of wood could define their art. They just shows that anything is possible, and that the value of our forests can go way beyond our traditional way of thinking.
It was also terrific to be reminded again of the importance of family tree farms to the promotion of responsible forest practices – and to celebrate SFI’s partnership with the American Tree Farm System, a forest certification program targeted toward private family forest owners. SFI and ATFS work together in many ways in communities across the country to increase forest certification on family forest lands and promote responsible forest practices.
This year’s convention host state — Minnesota — relies on the timber industry for a strong state economy. Private forest landowners own over half of the timber in Minnesota, so ATFS is an especially important tool for the promotion of responsible forestry there.
I enjoyed speaking at the convention and spending time with more than 300 tree farmers, woodland owners, industry professionals and partners who attended. We also heard great speeches from American Forest Foundation (AFF) President and CEO Tom Martin, Minnesota State Forester Forrest Boe, AFF Vice President of Family Forests Bettina Ring and Wisconsin State Forester Paul Delong. Eric Rutkow, author of American Canopy, spoke at the closing banquet when the 2013 National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year award, sponsored by STIHL, was presented to Joe Arington of Wisconsin.
Learn more at about the Tree Farmer Convention and Minnesota forestry at www.treefarmsystem.org/convention.Barry Graden Director, Southeast U.S. Community Outreach