My Photo


Tip Jar

Change is good

Tip Jar
Blog powered by Typepad

« Catching up with Graham Rice | Main | Fruit Trees: A Triumph of Hope Over Experience »


This just makes me sad on so many levels. What a twisted society we've created.

This is how big business rigs the system to destroy small business and American entrepreneurship. #OWS

This was an excellent post. You should really submit this to newspapers as an op ed piece. I wasn't aware of this controversy, but local tree farmers definitely need the help!!

So who dropped the ball? Why did they not run the campaign? Because The Heritage Foundation made a fuss? So, some people complained and they decided to drop the program? I am still not sure why the program was dropped?

The only good action on this is a reaction, a push-back, a reckoning for those who are really hurting Christmas and small businesses and (ultimately) our country. WHY DOES FOX HATE CHRISTMAS?!? The new (Winter/Spring) issue of Greenwoman is at the printers now, but if I would have known about this a week ago, I would have loved to publish it. I'm putting it on Facebook and my blog.

I really like that Christmas tree and will try to talk my life partner into getting one just like it this year. It symbolizes my minimalist approach to the holiday.

Sign...Wish we could figure out how to tax stupidity, it certainly seems to be a growth industry.

Trey--to answer your question--yes, the USDA suspended the program "due to recent events."

I added a link in the post to the subsequent Federal Register notice. Basically it says that "While we are
confident that the Christmas Tree
program is compliant with all
applicable law and supported by the
domestic Christmas tree industry, the
program will be stayed to provide
additional time for the Department to
reach out to the Christmas Tree industry
and the public to explain how a
research and promotion program is a
producer driven program to support
American farmers."

Damn straight! You go!

I've never understood why anyone wanted a fake tree. Instead of going to the farm to choose & cut one (family & outdoors - what's better?) you mosey to the attic/basement/storage unit to dust it off. Instead of that wonderful fragrance & - oh ! is that a bird's nest in there? - you get off-gassing & lead & carcinogens and the same look every year. Then you put the darn thing in a landfill when its no longer useable, rather than mulch it or use it as a fence post (we do).

I get a tree like the one in your photo every year. Of course, given my addiction to all things Christmas, it arrives looking all Charlie-Brown-ish & spends the next 2-4 weeks as very Rockefeller-Center.

The media really does distort stories to suit their need to hype everything. In this economy that means anything that takes even just a few pennies from your pocket is going to get blown out of proportion. This post illustrates that to the nth degree.

How may chemicals and CO2 from equipment go into tree growth and harvesting? Does that make carbon sequestration a wash when it comes to live trees? I think that's a big issue you need to address, too, before I go pick up that tree on the side of the rood that fell off someone's car.(I mean, go BUY a tree....)

You write:
" I am in favor of small groups of farmers or other businesspeople coming together and organizing"
-That sounds suspiciously like Union Organizing or (gasp!) Socialism. Or both.
Remember, America is a God Fearing Nation, and there is Festivus for the Restofus. . .

Benjamin, this doesn't have to be a debate over what kind of tree you should get or I should get. The point is that our insane political process/media craziness machine has gotten in the way of farmers organizing a modest little marketing campaign--and that is truly absurd.

First, the Happy Part: My future Christmas tree and I thank you for this post. The multi-generation Ludwig Family from Maine has been growing and selling their trees in Salem, MA and other communities for over 40 years. They make a few bucks, pay their bills and rub liniment on their sore muscles when it's all done.

We visit Ludwig Trees, hunt for the right size, get giddy from the spruce fragrance, feel slightly embarrassed while driving home with such a large tree atop a small car and anticipate the charm it will bring into our home.

The Mad Part: It's time for the Amwell-gate Commission. This morning I sought out and read the article in the 11/20/11 NYT magazine on Range Resources fracture practices in PA. Summary: 2005; Dick Cheney; Halliburton Loophole; exemption from compliance to Safe Drinking Water Act; "proprietary secret"; non-disclosure of chemicals used; dead animals; sick children; Love Canal redux. Oh, happy day.

Slugs show more determination and destroy our plants faster than our government takes action to protect our environment. By the time state and federal EPA officials get around to really understanding what is happening there will be no prevention. An implementation of the Precautionary Principle? Ha, how naive of me.

Lisa Jackson stated that, so far, reports show no evidence that chemicals are filtering through to the water supply. Of course the reports show no evidence. Much of what is in these reports is based on data from the for-profit companies and then edited by government employees. Funding cutbacks prevent our EPA from doing their own research.

Here is a plan: Lisa Jackson needs to brush up on her knowledge of geobiochemical cycles, call Tom Vilsack and ask him to join her on a site visit to Amwell Township, PA. Then they would know first hand that something is going wrong and it's happening on their watch.

Aaaargh. . . there's more. In another free enterprise market, big bucks companies are word-smithing their new marketing campaign and they have their partner, fear, on their side. "Our soil is toxic. Christmas trees are toxic. Your children's health is at risk. Sad isn't it? Buy fake." Does anyone see a pattern here?

I'll write to the President and First Lady and let them know what I think. After that, I'll figure out how to proceed. I was going to buy Michelle's new garden book. Now, maybe not. I'll have a bill to pay in the future.

Amy, our government doesn't give a rat's ass about anyone else. So maybe I just get flustered with the core debate too easily. Everyone thinks I'm nuts when I say it's time to march on Washington, into the capitol, toss 'em out, and put ourselves back in charge so we have a democracy again. Like the economy--it'd take like 6 months to fix the thing but no one does, too many special interests and navel gazers. And don't get me started about funding corn / ethanol growers, big oil, banks, pizza. But this is a simplified rant, I know. I just have to go get a drink.

Aah, it's good to be a Jew...

Nobody in Washington fought for the tax. They just sorta put it out there at the wrong time and expected it to be accepted---because of course people read and study--and get themselves educated on what all the impact might be. People are stupid in my opinion. That's how government got so big and worthless. 99% of the people out there have no idea what this tax was about. That's the problem--who actually knows what goes on in Washington? Makes me so stinking mad. I was for the Christmas tree tax because it promoted the trees. I'm a Fox News fan. I'm a conservative. I'm an environmentalist. I'm a hug a tree person. So not all us Fox watchers agree with doing away with the tax. I'm from NC--one of the top tree growers. Of course I wanted it. Until people start doing research for themselves and studying up on things---good and bad taxes will continue to pass with most of America being oblivious to what is going on. They simply don't give a crap. They don't care unless it's happening in their backyard.

Kaviani - or simply a nonChristian. Or an all-inclusive nonbeliever who doesn't observe ANY religion.

"I am in favor of small groups of farmers or other businesspeople coming together and organizing and creating a plan that will allow them to work and grow and prosper. That just sounds so very American. It seems like only a crazy person would object to that.

And that's precisely what happened."

Hmmmm, but nobody really objected to the farmers organizing.... Why wouldn't Christmas Tree Grower's Associations chip in to fund more than just enough for a "little effort" run by some "little group"?

Also, why do manufacturers of artificial trees have such an advantage over Christmas Tree farmers when it comes to marketing?

The problems with Big Industry are nothing compared to the problems with Big Government, especially when it comes to the sponsorship of agriculture.

Thanks for letting me offer my two cents...I enjoyed this provokative post!

Great rant on a number of levels. Go, girl!

Well the good news is that in their zeal to destroy the federal government (in earlier days this would amount to treason) outfits like Heritage and Faux News can't help but to alienate more and more of their own followers. As Anna Looper said, NC is a major Christmas tree producer. These are conservative, rural country folk almost by definition of what they are producing.

It's the propaganda that affects them directly that is going to make them begin to question the whole conservative media complex and how truthy it really is.

@ Kaviani & Susan - Not believing does not necessarily mean not getting a Christmas tree. I know at least one Jew & several non-practitioners/atheists/agnostics who get the tree, do the whole gifty thing, but just avoid the religious origins of the holiday. In my view, Christmas is really two holidays wrapped in one - the religious one for those who believe, & the secular one centered on family & friends for anyone who wishes to participate. The tree is secular unless you wish to adorn it with religious symbols.

We in the garden center trades have been watching this. Seems many are looking for the same type of program in our trade. Some grand scheme that will allow us to "get the word out". I would say after this the likely hood has diminished, which in my mind is a good thing.

The White House and USDA caved to political pressure during an election cycle. No one was willing to stick their neck out and do the right thing. Direct you anger at Washington, not the misguided fringe elements in society. That will get us nowhere.

I think it's important to distinguish between the fact that this was an assessment the farmers and processors pay--not a tax that consumers would pay directly. For example, I'm a tree-fruit farmer, and pay assessments for marketing (and research, lobbying, etc) based on the tonnage I produce, but there's not a tax on fruit that consumers themselves pay directly for these activities. Sure, pricing may (or may not) reflect the assessment in any given year, depending on what the market will bear.

The tree farmers are free to form their own groups, independent of the federal government if they want (which is what tree fruit farmers and others have done). And I imagine in some regions, they have.

The folks who voted the tree tax down want less government, not more, even if it is something that they would agree is useful. Why get the government involved in private business? Let the tree farmers unit and do the marketing. Never mind that they have not been able to to it themselves for whatever reason and the government could probably do a good job at it, who knows?

The comments to this entry are closed.

And Now a Word From...

Garden Bloggers Fling

Dig It!

Find Garden Speakers At:

GardenRant Bookstore




AddThis Feed Button
AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz