Christmas Tree Tax? The REAL story:
The Christmas tree industry, after years of research and discussion, petitioned the USDA to participate in an existing program that allows an agricultural commodity to assess itself on its production and use those monies for research and promotional campaigns. These programs are commonly referred to as "check offs". Under this order, Christmas tree growers who harvest a minimum of 500 trees in a year would pay 15 cents per tree harvested. These funds would be managed by a Promotion board, made up of Christmas tree growers from around the nation. This board would determine how to use the funds to promote farm-grown Christmas trees.
There are 20 agricultural commodities already participating in these programs. Are your familiar with phrases: "Got Milk?", "Beef - It's What's for Dinner", and "Pork the Other White Meat"? These are all advertising campaigns funded by agricultural promotion orders. Have you purchased a "personal sized" watermelon? The research to develop this fruit was funded by an agricultural check off. The producers of a given commodity pay the assessment and fund these types of activities.
The MCTA Board of Directors voted to support the Christmas tree check off and we remain hopeful that this will become a reality for our industry.