Growers unloaded freshly cut Christmas trees from pickups and trailers at the Iowa State Fairgrounds today in preparation for loading on a larger truck so the trees can be sent out to U.S. military families.
Iowa Christmas Tree Growers Association president, Bob Moulds of Fairbank in northeast Iowa, was one of those who donated trees.
“We got started years ago when the national association decided to do it, and we just think it’s something that the association can do to contribute to the armed forces and the sacrifice that they make,” Moulds says.
“And so if we can’t do anything else, then we can help them by contributing trees to the families that are on bases or overseas.”
Moulds runs the Wapsie Pines Tree Farm and says there trees will hopefully bring a piece of home to the families and soldiers serving far away. “They appreciate it. Several of us have gotten letters from some of the people who have gotten trees, and they appreciate it very much,” Moulds says.
The growers piled up 80 trees wrapped in netting, and they will be transported by FedEx to the military bases in the U.S. and overseas. Moulds says growers from across the state contribute in some way to the annual event.
“In some cases people are too far away to just bring a couple of trees. So a grower like myself and other growers will make a deal and if they want to donate some money to us we will take trees from our farm and bring them down,” Moulds explains. “So I brought 20 trees. Some of them are from donations of customers who buy trees to send down, and others for other growers. So, I brought trees for three other growers.”
The Iowa Ag Department says this is the seventh year for the national program and Iowa’s trees are part of some 17 to 20,000 nationwide that are being donated to the troops. The Ag Department partnered with the growers for the program here.
There are just over one hundred “choose and cut” Christmas tree farms in Iowa, with close to 1,500 acres in tree production. Approximately 39,000 trees are harvested annually across the state.
This year’s Iowa trees were donated by:
Mel & Jan Pacovsky, Pine Acres, New Hampton
Lee and Lynne Aldrich, Aldrich Tree Farm, Belmond
Tim and Lori Andrews, Wickiup Hill Tree Farm, Vinton
Cynthia Bruins, Indianola Tree Farm, Indianola
Jim and Gladys Dixon, Dixon Tree Farm, Norwalk
Dale & Julie Fagner, DJ Christmas Pines, Elkader
Mark & Jackie Fisher, Fisher Tree Farm, Clear Lake
Gary & Jane Harman, Walnut Ridge Farm, Indianola
Harold & Carol Hill, Hill’s Tree Farm, Minburn
Steven and Joanna, Hoogestraat, Hoogestraat Christmas Tree Farm, Arcadia
Sandra Hunter, The Christmas Tree Farm, Maxwell
Mike & Renee Kidman, Kidman Tree Farm, Polk City
Mark and Twylah Kragel, Kragel Christmas Trees and Traditions, Clear Lake
Loren & Liz Kruse, Kruse Christmas Farm, Grundy Center
Terry & Lona Lewis, Horse Creek Farm, Sidney
Bob Moulds, Wapsie Pines Tree Farm, Fairbank
Jim & Marilyn Murphy, Murphy’s Walnut Hill Nursery, Runnells
Vern and Sarah Rettig, Honey Creek Timbers, Bondurant
Joseph, Joe, and Janice Reutter, Enchanted Valley Tree Farm, Boone
Bob & Terry Strohbehn, Poweshiek Pines Tree Farm, Brooklyn
Michael & Deb White, White Christmas Tree Farm, Indianola