2015 County Tree Farmers of the Year
Family forest landowners from five counties have been singled out for special recognition because of their efforts in managing their forests and encouraging others to improve their forested properties.
Defrees Ranch - Baker County: The 1,227 acre Defrees Ranch has been in the family for 107 years, and is a model of stewardship as a forest/livestock operation in Eastern Oregon’s forest and range country. Lyle and Dean Defrees manage the mixed use property to both provide for forest and range production and health. Their efforts are also include improving wildlife habitats and restore Aspen, a species in decline in Eastern and Central Oregon.
Lyle and Dean, active members of their OSWA Chapter, are continually educating themselves in the scientific knowledge and on-the-ground management of tree farming and ranching. Lyle is a meticulous record keeper which has given him insights into the costs and benefits of managing livestock and forests; information the Defrees share with tree farmers, ranchers and the general public through countless tours and classroom settings.
Greg and Barbara Vollmer - Benton County: Greg and Barbara Vollmer own 22 acres near Alsea. They have owner their tree farm since 1982 and have a long history of forest improvement projects on their property. They converted pastures to Douglas-fir forests in the 1980s and have worked continually to release their trees from competing vegetation.
They are both Master Woodland Managers and members of the Benton County Small Woodlands Association and the Oregon Tree Farm System. Greg is a leader of their OSWA Chapter serving as Program Chair. Barbara manages the books for their Chapter.
Bill and Mary Potterf - Jackson County: Bill and Mary Potterf own and manage 78 acres near the town of Rogue River in Jackson County. The property has been in the family since 1971. They purchased the tree farm in 2005. Much of the management of the property deals with recovery from a 1992 wildfire that burned 94 percent of the land.
The property was salvage logged and planted shortly after the fire. Pruning and thinning are now the major current forest management activities. They have built and maintain trail system for family and landowner tours, and work to minimize the threat of future wildfires through pruning and removing brush and other fuels. They have created and maintain a fuel reduction zone along Boyd Road.
Bill is a Master Woodland Manager and enthusiastically coveys the message of family forestland management. He has been instrumental in building the Southern Oregon family forestland community.
Dave and Karen Bateman - Linn County: Dave and Karen Bateman are this year’s Linn County honored tree farmers. They own 133 acres in two parcels in the central part of the county. They have owned one parcel for over 40 years, and live on the other which they bought 13 years ago.
Young growth management describes most of Dave and Karen’s tree farm activities. They have planted Douglas-fir and western red cedar, thinned, and pruned stands of various ages.
Dave is a past President of the Linn County Small Woodlands Association and continues to be a major source of energy and inspiration for the Chapter. He’s serves as Program Chair and mentors new Chapter Presidents as they take office.
John and Cathy Dummer - Washington County: John and Cathy Dummer are relatively new to forestry, but have throwing themselves headlong into learning about forest management from classes and other tree farmers. They own a 39 acre property in northern Washington County.
They bought a parcel after it was clear-cut, planted and trees established. The Dummers developed their forest management plan through OSU Forestry Extension’s Mentored Management Planning course. They have filled in root-rot pockets and other low stocked areas with a variety of Red Alder, Ponderosa pine and Oregon White Oak. Along with planting, controlling invasive species such as Scotch Broom has been a major management task.
John and Cathy are very active in their OSWA Chapter and currently serve as co-Presidents.