Christmas is often called the happiest time of the year. Typically winter is the down time for farmers. This is the time for them to work on their records and fix equipment. But did you know there a few farmers that live for this season? They plant their crop and watch them mature, ready to harvest them when the excitement of Christmas is just around the corner.
As you decorate your tree have you ever thought about the history or the economic impact of the Christmas tree? Christmas trees of been sold commercially in the United States since around 1850. However, at this time they were cut from the forest. This trend recently changed mid way throughout this past century when tree farms started to pop up.
But why is decorating a Christmas tree so popular to begin with? In the 16th century Christians in Germany brought decorated trees into their homes to celebrate the birth of Jesus. They hung editable treats on the tree to decorate it for the season. Queen Victoria was pictured with Prince Albert and their children during 1846 positioned around a Christmas tree. The Queen was popular with her subjects and Christmas trees soon began to find their way in to homes around Britain and the east coast of America. There are many stories of how the Christmas Tree became popular and who is accredited to the beginning of the tradition.
As you have seen the Christmas tree has a rich history throughout the world, but it also has a rich history in agriculture!
Fun Fact: Christmas Trees are grown in all 50 states including Alaska and Hawaii.
Christmas trees are grown on farms or plantations where consumers can pick their own or buy them from a store where they have been delivered. In 2014, there was over 26.3 million trees purchased with a value of $1.04 billion! The majority of the trees are pre-cut.
There are over 350,000 acres growing Christmas trees across the nation with approximately 15,000 farms. this means there are around 350 million trees currently growing! These farms employ over 100,000 people! The most common trees planted and used for Christmas trees include: Douglas-fir, noble fir, white pine, and Virginia pine. They harvest the trees when they reach around 6 to 7 feet tall which can take anywhere from 4 to 15 years, with the average time being 7 years. Can you imagine not being able to harvest a product for years?
After Christmas, the trees can still serve a purpose! They can be used recycled, used for habitat, or soil erosion.
Next time you look at your tree, think about the impact it has on the agriculture industry!