Unity, ME — U.S. Senator Susan Collins delivered remarks at the 65th Annual Forestry Field Day, which was held at Newell Tree Farm in Unity, the 2019 Outstanding Tree Farm of the Year. The event, which was co-hosted by Maine Tree Farm and Maine Woodland Owners, celebrated the achievements of the 2019 Outstanding Tree Farmer of the year, Don Newell and his family. The event featured wagon and walking tours of the woodlot to explore the management and stewardship of the property. Senator Collins is a member of the Senate Working Forests Caucus.
“Congratulations to Newell Tree Farm on being named the 2019 Outstanding Tree Farm of the Year!” said Senator Collins. “In contrast to most of the United States where forests are publicly held, 95 percent of Maine woods are privately owned. These landowners, like Don Newell and his family, serve as the caretakers of the natural resources that are vital to our forest products industry and recreation economy. Thank you to the Maine Tree Farm and Maine Woodland Owners for their efforts to uphold the Maine tradition of providing public access to private lands and to preserve our state’s beautiful forests for generations to come.”
Mr. Newell has been a Tree Farmer since 1986, when he bought the first parcel of the now 250 acre forest, adding to it as adjoining parcels became available. Nearly every morning, before going to his day job as a realtor specializing in farms and woodlands, he is in the woods improving his road and trail system or harvesting products for local wood markets. His management practices include thinning sapling stands and creating small patch clearcuts to promote habitat for birds and other wildlife.
The Newell Tree Farm is open to the public for hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling on designated groomed trails. Mr. Newell has hosted numerous events and tours, including forestry professors from Sweden and UMaine, Unity College students’ forestry projects, and the annual MOFGA Low Impact Forestry 101 session.
Senator Collins has cosponsored legislation to support Maine’s forest products industry, including the Future Logging Careers Act, legislation to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow parents who own or operate a logging or mechanized operation to employ their 16- and 17-year-old children.
In December, the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law and included important provisions authored by Senator Collins to benefit Maine’s agriculture industry. The Timber Innovation Act established a performance-driven research and development, education, and technical assistance program for advancing mass timber building construction in the United States. Senator Collins also cosponsored the Community Wood Energy Innovation Act, which authorized $25 million per year to support a grant program for community wood energy systems. This legislation also provides support for initiatives to help manufacturing plants and mills produce innovative wood products, such as mass timber or wood products from nanocellulose technology.