Elmer Platz, of Vernon Township, and the owner of Wawayanda Tree Farm won the New Jersey Tree Farm Committee Ron Sheay 2021 Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year Award at the New Jersey Tree Farm Program’s annual member meeting this year.
The New Jersey Program is part of the American Tree Farm System, a program for woodland owners who are “committed to sustainably managing their woods for wood, water, wildlife and recreation.”
Each state program is run by a variety of agencies, organizations and volunteers that come together for this singular cause.
Wawayanda Tree Farm, off Barrett Road in Vernon, is one of four farms located in Vernon Township and operated by Elmer Platz as a farm management unit (FMU) under the name of Mount Vernon Farms, LLC.
Platz has been an active farm owner in Vernon Township since 1984. He has been a participant in the New Jersey Tree Farm Program since 1988 and is currently vice president of the New Jersey Forestry Association and a delegate to the annual NJ Agricultural Convention.
“Our New Jersey forests are struggling with the effects of climate change, invasive plant and insect species, soil erosion and degradation, deer over-population, aging, and increasing risk of fire — all impacting overall forest sustainability,” the award press release read. “It is essential that New Jersey residents become better informed regarding these evolving issues. A discussion has begun at the State level which will impact the future of our forests. It is imperative for everyone to understand the benefits of sustainable forest management and its role in assuring our forestland for generations to come.”
The ceremony took place at the Clover Rod & Gun Club Tree Farm in Kingwood Township, Hunterdon County, on June 3.