Local tree farmers impacted by 2012 drought

Published: Nov. 27, 2018 at 6:13 PM CST
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The 2008 Recession and the 2012 Drought may seem like events of the past but locally, Christmas tree farms are still taking a hit years later- making it harder for you to find that perfect tree this holiday season.

Nearly 28 million American's are expected to purchase a real Christmas tree this holiday season, it may be hard to find one.

"There are growers out there that grow a lot of trees, and lost a lot of trees,” said President of the Nebraska Christmas Tree Growers Association, Les Korte.

It all has to do with the 2012 Drought.

Korte says that year, farmers here in Nebraska lost thousands of trees, but this year they are still seeing the effects.

"75-80 percent of the new trees they planted, died so then in the future, they wont have those trees maturing for people to come and harvest, they just aren’t there,” said Korte.

One of those farmers, Scott Burchan, owns Clover B Tree Farm in Crete.

He says this year, effects of the drought have been obvious.

He lost over 1,800 trees in 2012, messing up the trees growing cycles for years to come.

"This is in Nebraska, and it is all over, the same. If you don't have irrigation, if they didn't have irrigation, thousands of trees,” said Korte.

Korte owns Prairie Woods Christmas Tree Farm and luckily it has irrigation.

But Christmas trees take at least 8 years to grow, so those who lost trees in 2012 are still waiting for the impact of the drought to dry up.

"If you lose 50 percent of your trees, that means you've got 25 percent of the trees available for 8 years from now,” said Korte.

Korte says this year it is also harder for them to get trees from other states because people planted less during the 2008 Recession.