ARP, Texas (KLTV) - Out of 4000 tree farmers in Texas, only one is selected as the outstanding tree farm of the year.
This year, that prestigious award belongs to an East Texas couple in Arp.
Harold and Mary Denson own the Sartain/Denson Tree Farm.
“The original farm goes back to 1868 when Mary’s great-great-grandfather established ... well ... he bought the land, and established residence here," said Harold Denson.
After receiving the coveted award, winners are asked to host a tour of their tree farm; the Densons’ tour is already sold out.
“I want them to learn how we appreciate the land; we try to take care of it, we don’t harvest it and just leave it," said Harold. "We’re very conscious of replanting and taking care of it that way.”
Their most harvested trees are pine trees, but not the Christmas kind.
“We put up an artificial tree at Christmas time,” said Mary Denson, as her and her husband laughed.
The Texas Forestry Association looks for specific things when selecting who receives the award.
“They look for families and tree farmers who exhibit their dedication and commitment to sustainable forestry as well as management which includes water, wildlife quality and forest-producing timber," said James Houser, the forest manager who works with the Densons.
The couple said they are very excited to have been selected for the award.
“It means a lot," said Harold. "We’re one out of 4000 that was chosen this year to be tree farmers of the year; it’s a great honor.”
Their tree farm also has historic value in which they said they’re excited to showcase.
“The historical aspect of this property just adds to the quality of the tree farm," said Houser. “It’s certainly pretty rare to have a third or fourth generation tree farmer.”
The Densons said their children will become the next generation to own the farm, so it will stay in the family.
After Saturday’s completely-booked tour, the next step for the Densons is the national tree farmers title, which they are now in the running to win.