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Campaigning For Christmas

Christmas tree growers push Congress to fund promotional campaign similar to the dairy industry's "Got Milk?" ads.
(NBC News)  It's hard for Drew Yenser to stay in the Christmas spirit.

He worries his Pennsylvania tree farm is a dying tradition.

Farmers sold 24.5 million Christmas trees last year.

That sounds like a lot, but its 6.3 million fewer than the year before.

"It's not a good time for the Christmas tree industry, really" Yenser says.

Yenser has been fighting for a Christmas tree public relations boost much like dairy got when the Department of Agriculture approved the campaign that created the "Got Milk" ads.

The program, known as a "check off", would charge any farmer who sells more than 500 trees a year 
15 cents for each tree they sell to pay for marketing and research.

The USDA postponed the program just before the last presidential election when it was attacked as a "Christmas tree tax".

"When we have something that's involuntary and it's an assessment - that's called a tax," says Daren Bakst of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Even some farmers, like Lisa Gaver, have their concerns.

"We have an established customer base, we feel like we promote ourselves locally and regionally," she says.

Lawmakers are planning to push the program through with the Farm Bill.
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