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Kann's Tree Farm

Top honors for tree farmers

Gerald and Charlotte Kann started their farm in 1973 out of a love of trees and the land.

Earlier this summer, the American Tree Farm System honored the Kanns with the Regional Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year award.

The Kanns, who farm in Sparta, represent the North Central region.

Gerald “Jug” Kann purchased a traditional farm in 1973 because he wanted “a place to play in the dirt.” The first year, the farm was planted with 7,500 conifer tree seedlings on 9.5 acres.

Over a dozen spring seasons since have seen a tree-planting, with more than 50,000 seedlings being planted over time.

Restoring the land to forest, the Kanns say they’ve seen a significant increase in wildlife, especially deer and turkey. To care for the critters, they created a pond to provide a water source.

To be considered for the ATFS awards, farmers must exhibit exceptional forest stewardship to protect and improve forest health, wildlife habitat, clean water and sustainable wood supplies.

The regional recognition puts the Kanns in the running for National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year, an honor decided by AFF’s governance board and online voting at

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