Hidden in the agricultural economy of Northwest Michigan is the production of Christmas trees. So many times we think of cherries and wine, when we think of our local agricultural economy. In fact, nearly 18 percent of all Christmas trees harvested in the United States come from Michigan.*
Michigan ranks third among all states in the production of real Christmas trees, averaging 1.5 million trees grown annually, but grows a larger variety (13) of Christmas trees than any other state.
Within Michigan, Wexford and Missaukee Counties rank number one and two respectively with Kalkaska County ranking a respectable fourth.
The cultivation and production of Christmas trees is a year-round business with planting, irrigation and pruning taking up time in the summer, fall and winter months. Dutchman Christmas Tree Farms has operated out of Manton in Missaukee County for over 30 years as a fully operational tree farm. Driving past their farm, it is amazing to see them in full production mode, fulfilling wholesale demand demonstrated by the loading of tens of thousands of trees in large tractor trailer trucks headed for downstate and out of state locations.
Next time you think of local agriculture, don’t forget the economic impact of our region’s Christmas tree industry.