OLYMPIA — A couple who own about 250 acres of timber and pasture land in southwestern Washington were honored Friday as tree farmers of the year by the Washington Farm Tree Program.
The Lawffer Tree Farm near Amboy in northeastern Clark County has been in the family for more than a century. Randy and Linda Lawffer, who have four children, 16 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, said they hope the land will stay in the family.
“It’s a big honor. I think it’s another incentive for the kids to realize how important it is to keep it going,” Randy Lawffer said.
The Lawffers received the award at the organization’s 29th annual awards luncheon, which was held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Washington Farm Forestry Association.
The nonprofit tree program administers the American Tree Farm System in Washington. Landowners who meet the standards are recognized around the world for sustainable forest stewardship, according to the organization.
The organization is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the first certified tree farm, a 120,000-acre tract in Grays Harbor County that was owned by Weyerhaeuser Co. when it was certified June 12, 1941.
The Lawffers certified their tree farm in 2010.
“The Washington Tree Farm Program is proud to honor individuals who go above and beyond in their commitment to responsible forest management,” the program’s chairwoman, Tammie Perreault, said. “The Lawffers have been doing that for generations.”
Randy Lawffer’s great-grandfather bought the property in the early 1900s. He took over managing the property from his father nearly 40 years ago, according to a tree program press release.
The couple do much of the planting, thinning and harvesting themselves.
In a video shown at the luncheon, the Lawffers talked about the enjoyment their family has received by spending time on the land.
Randy Lawffer also said that grazing cows have benefited the tree farm by keeping down brush.
Bill and Marilyn Logan, who manage the 40-acre J.W. Logan Tree Farm, east of Onalaska in Lewis County, were also nominated for the annual award.
Bill Logan was sheriff of Lewis County between 1987 and 1994. His father bought the family’s tree farm in the 1940s.
In another video shown at the luncheon, Logan said that people ask him how he profits from managing a crop that won’t be harvested in his lifetime. He said a granddaughter likes to spend time among the trees. “That’s how you get your payoff,” he said.