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The Environmental Choice - Real Christmas Trees
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What does the GROWER EDUCATION PROGRAM offer?

Educational Field Days at Christmas Tree Farms

A unique opportunity to learn what the Christmas tree business is all about.

© CTFO

A unique opportunity to learn what the Christmas tree business is all about:

  • New Grower Correspondence Course
  • Field days at Christmas tree farms
  • CTFO annual-meeting event, including key-note speakers
The following information contain more details about our New Grower Correspondence Course.

Correspondence Course Objectives:

  1. You will have an understanding of the factors to be considered in getting started in the Christmas tree business.
  2. You will have information on the key factors involved and know where to get additional information.
  3. You will have made a start in planning your operation and will be able to continue the process on your own.
  4. You will be able to determine what is particularly relevant to your operation in the various components of the Grower Education Program.

Correspondence Course Format:

The New Grower Education Program is now available electronically. When you have paid your registration fee, you will be contacted with an access code which will allow you into the Members Only section of the CTFO website. The accompanying handbook and instructions will be mailed to you by surface mail. The program is divided into modules which you may complete at your own pace and concenience. When you return an assignment your mentor (an RPF) will review your work. You will then receive the review and the mentor's comments and observations.

Modules:

  1. History and current state of the Christmas tree industry. Types of Christmas trees in Ontario and North America.
  2. Marketing - Overview of approaches, quality is crucial, local market size, competition, location, planning harvest sizes, pricing strategies, building your clientele, satisfying your customers.
  3. Production - Soil types, drainage, topography, climate, preparation, planning, layout, tree varieties, seedling quality, types and suppliers, crop protection, timing and nature of operations, equipment.
  4. Financial - Scale of operations, typical investments in dollars and labour per crop, marketing costs.
  5. Environmental issues - spin-off benefits of trees, crop-protection chemicals, "organic" methods, environmental farm plans/incentives.
  6. Government issues - farm taxes, pesticide permits, HST options, income tax.
  7. Following through - reading journals, attending industry events, making adjustments.

Educational Field Days:

Field days are what the name implies, you will be out in the field for a good part of the day. Your exposure will be to the host farm's crops, methods and approaches, but also to the views and comments of participating experts and the many Christmas tree growers who are also attending. Host farms for field days have varied in the past from operations which sell a few hundred trees, to large scale growers marketing close to 100,000 trees each season.

The Annual Meeting Event:

Different formats are offered from year to year and the event is held at widely varying locales. The business portion lasts for about three hours. The rest of the agenda may contain key-note speakers, presentations, excursions or coincide with local events. We have staged both one and two-day events with elaborate banquets or just a good lunch. Whatever the format, there is always a strong informational component for participants.

Grower's Pesticide Safety Course:

In order to purchase, transport and use certain classes of crop protection products, the Ontario government requires you or your employees be certified. The course is available through the Ministry of the Environment.

Association Publications

Members in good standing receive two official publications: 1) Ontario Christmas Tree News is the Association's official newsletter. It is distributed electronically to oue members three or four times annually and keeps them up-to-date on industry issues specific to Ontario and Canada. It is also the main way the CTFO office has to communicate with our members. For those members who do not have email, a scaled down print version is sent by surface mail. Our annual member advertisers also receive a complimentary listing on the "Industry Suppliers" page of the CTFO website and are invited to have a display at our annual field day events.2) The Great Lakes Christmas Tree Journal is a very high quality magazine published and distributed by surface mail four times annually. The magazine is produced by the Michigan Christmas Tree Growers Association and includes the latest in silvicultural research and techniques coming from the Forestry section at the University of Michigan. This magazine is the result of an alliance between CTFO, MCTGA and a number of other state associations bordering on the Great Lakes. Please note that CTFO "Subscribers" do not receive the GLCT Journal.

Ontario Members Library

An online electronic library which contains stories from back issues of our magazine as well stories from other sources to help association members in good standing find Christmas tree information in a timely and organized format.

Grower Education Program Enrollment and Fees:

  • Associate membership at $130 per year is a pre-requisite to enrollment in the Grower Education Program. Your cheque for $130 must accompany your registration.
  • Cost of the Correspondence Course is $225.00.
  • Field day and annual meeting fees are typically $35 plus $10 for lunch, with pre-registration encouraged.
  • To join CTFO as an associate member send your cheque for $130.00 to: Christmas Tree Farmers of Ontario 9251 County Road #1, Palgrave, ON, L0N 1P0
    Please enclose a note with your full address, telephone, fax and email as applicable. Also include the lot, concession, township and county/region were your farm is located. To enroll in the Correspondence Course send an extra $225.00. If you expect to market Christmas Trees this coming season you must become a full member (cost $180.00) on joining CTFO. Please call us to discuss the benefits of joining.


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