Towner man grows Christmas trees as a hobby, only one of 14 farms in North Dakota

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 7:33 PM CST
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TOWNER, N.D. (KFYR) - There are only 14 Christmas tree farms in North Dakota, according to a USDA census of agriculture. One tree farmer said he’s not in the business for the money.

Jerome Suchor knows Christmas trees.

“Well, the inspiration goes way back to 1976,” said Suchor.

Suchor worked part-time at the Towner State Nursery before joining the North Dakota Forest Service.

He said he came back to his roots in Towner at the state nursery in 1986 and bought a few acres of land north of town.

“So, I started planting trees in 1992,” said Suchor.

He says every tree takes about seven years before it’s ready to harvest and sell.

“It’s a very satisfying thing to do, I just enjoy it and I will continue to grow Christmas trees as long as I’m able to,” said Suchor.

He sells about 50 trees a year and only by word-of-mouth because he considers this venture more of a hobby than a business.

For many folks who like the smell and look of real pine, Christmas trees grown out of state and shipped to North Dakota are another option.

“These are the Canaan Firs,” explained tree seller Cole Stevens.

Cole Stevens and his brother are second-generation Christmas tree sellers.

“This would actually be my dad’s 50th year selling trees,” said Stevens.

His dad still stops by the tree operation. Stevens is passionate about trees too.

“Throughout the years, somebody will see you and recognize you as the guy who sells trees,” said Stevens.

Stevens said his trees come from Wisconsin because it’s hard to find a supplier here. He says real trees are better than plastic.

“It’s actually better for the environment. They’re a natural product. They’re not made with plastics and the sound... the aroma,” said Stevens.

Back in Towner, Jerome said he’s teaching his 13 grandchildren about Christmas tree farming hoping the next generation continues the business he’s grown up with.

Jerome Suchor started with 200 saplings. Now, he has close to 1,500 trees.