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Wisconsin is home to many Christmas tree farms. The 2019 Census of Horticultural Specialties evaluated the U.S. and individuals states’ Christmas tree industries.

The sales value of Wisconsin Christmas trees ranks fourth in the nation, according to the 2019 Census of Horticultural Specialties.

The report, issued this month by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, puts the value of all sales of cultivated Christmas trees sold and to be sold in 2019 in the state at a little under $23.3 million. The number of trees sold or to be sold in that year was listed at 785,000.

The census’s total valuation for U.S. Christmas trees sold or to be sold in 2019 was over $357 million.

In terms of sales value, Wisconsin is behind only Oregon, North Carolina and Michigan.

According to the last census of horticulture released in 2015, in 2014, Wisconsin sold 667,000 trees at a total valuation of approximately $16.2 million, making 2019’s numbers a step up in both categories. The valuation alone is a 43.7% increase from 2014 to 2019.

Wisconsin’s rank of fourth in sales value is also an improvement. The 2014 horticulture census shows Wisconsin ranked fifth, behind Pennsylvania in addition to the other three states it continues to trail.

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, it can take four to 15 years for a Christmas tree to reach typical height, with an average growing time of seven years.

As of Jan. 1, 2020, the total number of Christmas trees spread across the state’s 182 reported operations to be sold in future years came in at 7.26 million.

While the number of operations as of Jan. 1, 2020, stayed flat with the number listed for Jan. 1, 2015, as recorded in the 2014 census, the number of trees on the operations to be cut in future years fell by nearly 2.7 million from 9.93 million in 2015 to the 7.26 million listed for 2020.

The number of operations is expected to remain fairly flat, between 178-181, over the following three years, before steadily dropping to 157 seven years out.

Total trees to be cut and sold each year are, however, expected to fluctuate higher over the next several years, from 727,000 in one year up to approximately 860,000 in four and seven years out, with varying totals in between.

In a conference with agricultural media, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary-designee Randy Romanski said that he didn’t have any details as to whether real trees sales might be higher this year but noted that with people tending to stay closer to home, there might be some kind of increase associated with that.

Other horticulture statistics

According to a Wisconsin horticulture census summary from the NASS Wisconsin Field Office, the $231 million generated in the state from total floriculture, nursery and specialty crops in 2019 was a slight increase from the last 2014 census. Producers, on the other hand, decreased in number from 833 to 789.

A small majority of horticultural specialty operations in the state are either individually- or family-owned, according to the summary, but corporate-owned operations are responsible for about two-thirds of all sales.

Total industry expenses were down slightly compared to 2014. Hired labor, the largest expense, accounted for more than one-third of all expenses in 2019.

The 2019 Census of Horticultural Specialties falls under the 2017 Census of Agriculture.