2014 Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year

Jim and Cathy Long of Blanch were named 2014 N.C. Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year at the N.C. Tree Farm Program’s Annual Meeting in Kipling. Since 1960, when they became the owners of the 434-acre farm that has been in Jim’s family since 1869, they have transformed the farm into a model of sustainable forest and farm management.Their primary objectives are to improve forest productivity and timber quality, restore oak/hickory forests, enhance wildlife habitat, protect water quality and riparian forest buffers, enhance aesthetics and improve recreational opportunities on the farm. The Longs’ Tree Farm is an excellent example of how wildlife, recreation, farming, water quality and timber can work together in balance.

As mentors to other farmers and Tree Farmers in their community, they have hosted a forest management workshop for the N.C. Tree Farm Program and two field tours for the Caswell Area Forestry Association, which Jim founded in 2007 and now has 75 members. Jim is past chair of the N.C. Tree Farm Program. During his tenure, he developed a new leadership structure that distributes organizational duties to a larger number of people and is now a model for other Tree Farm Programs throughout the country.