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Environment

Piedmont couple crowned 'Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year'

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Courtesy of South Dakota Family Forests Association
The Burns-LaHood family

A Black Hills couple are the American Tree Farm System’s National Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year. Bob Burns and Mary LaHood of Piedmont own and manage 320 acres of forestland.

Award winners must exhibit exceptional forest stewardship to protect and improve forest resources. They also have to promote forest stewardship in their communities.

Burns says managing their tree farm is a team effort.

“This has really been a result of local South Dakota Family Forests organization that's helped us over the years. And our state and federal foresters have also given us a lot of help with education and cost-sharing programs and things like that, but mostly just their support to have a healthy forest.”

Private owners like the LaHood-Burns family care for about 40 percent of America’s forests.