Becoming a Certified Tree Farmer

Membership in the N.C. Tree Farm Program is open to woodland owners who:

  • Own at least 10 acres of forested land
  • Have a comprehensive forest management plan that addresses water quality, wildlife habitat, soil conservation and forest products
  • Protect their woodlands from fire, insects, disease and destructive grazing through active management
  • Adhere to the American Tree Farm System’s Standards of Sustainability.

Learn about the certification process, requirements and benefits at the links below or by contacting the N.C. Tree Farm Program at

The N.C. Tree Farm Program charges $350 for five years of certification. Grant funding is available for a limited time to cover $150 of this fee for certification in all 100 counties.

If you are interested in becoming a certified Tree Farmer, contact the N.C. Tree Farm Program or talk with your forester about the steps you need to take to achieve certification.


The N.C. Tree Farm Program offers a broad range of member benefits that support Tree Farmers forest management efforts. Learn about the 2023 Member Benefits.

Farmers make a management plan


To become a Certified Tree Farmer, landowners must commit to upholding the Standards of Sustainability  and demonstrate their commitment to long-term sustainable forest management by having and implementing a written forest management plan. Read further to learn what a qualifying forest management plan must include.

Tree farm inspector


After you apply for certification and every five years thereafter, a Tree Farm inspector will review your forest management plan and visit your tree farm to verify that you meet the required sustainability standards.

Tree farm inspector


Landowners should review their management plan annually to be sure that it reflects the current conditions on their Tree Farm and continues to align with the management objectives.  The N.C. Tree Farm Program requires certified Tree Farms to be re-inspected and re-certified every five years.