Local farm garners regional honors

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By The Staff

Harvey and Jeanette Clark Sweeney’s family farm, part of which has been in their family for five generations, was named Tree Farm of the Year for Region II of the state of Florida.

Region II covers 10 counties reaching from the Suwannee River on the east to the Apalachicola on the west. The Sweeneys’ tree farm will represent Region II in the state contest in this month. The winner of the state contest will be honored at the annual meeting of the Florida Forestry Association in September and will go on to represent Florida at the Tree Farm southeastern regional contest.

The Sweeneys, who live in the Hardaway community, are active in the community with forest stewardship, soil and water conservation committee and many other local organizations. Their farm consists of 313 acres, of which 277 are forested in native pines and hardwoods or planted Longleaf pines.

The Sweeneys actively manage their tree farm using prescribed fire, timber thinning, planting Longleaf pine, maintaining wildlife food plots and three man-made ponds.

Not only do the Sweeneys actively manage their tree farm, but they share their love of the land with others, through tours for the Forest Stewardship Program, hosting federal program review teams and by participating in forest health monitoring programs with the Florida Division of Forestry.