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Whitman family earns Tree Care Award

Whitman family earns the Tree Care Award for new tree plantings

Renovating farmstead shelterbelts is no easy task. Preparing the ground for new tree plantings is difficult and labor-intensive. Verne and Brenda Whitman, Capital Electric Cooperative members from southwest of Driscoll, did it themselves — with assistance from their son, Stuart, and grandson, Zachary. Their efforts earned them some beautiful, new shelterbelts — and this year’s Burleigh County Soil Conservation District Tree Care Award. The award was presented to Verne and Brenda at the district mixer on Nov. 6, 2014.

Darrell Oswald, district technician for the Burleigh County Soil Conservation District, says the family received the award because they’ve planted close to 20,000 feet of new tree plantings so far, and are planning another 5,000 feet in a renovated site.

“It’s not an easy thing to do. The success of the planting depends on the preparation of the site. They did a good job,” Oswald says. “They are also tenacious about taking care of the trees, and replacing ones that die. You don’t get 100 percent success.” Verne installed a drip irrigation system that he moves around to the plantings. “They just did an overall good job, and are pretty dedicated in seeing it through and being successful,” Oswald concludes.

Semi-retired, Verne and Brenda run a ranching operation with more than 600 head of mixed-breed cattle. Brenda is the bookkeeper, and Stuart manages the daily operations. The family owns around 3,600 acres and rents approximately 3,000 additional acres.

The shelterbelts they are renovating surround the farm and serve as a windbreak. The majority of the trees planted have been evergreens. Brenda says they provide the best wind protection. They also planted a variety of fruit trees years ago, and are enjoying berries for the first time. Brenda says her husband works hard to keep the grass and weeds down. “It’s a lot to take care of. When it gets to be too much, we enlist help,” she says. Stuart and Zachary help pull weeds.

Capital Electric Cooperative thanks the Whitman family for their commitment to their farm and to our service area.

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