Growing trees for those to come | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | July 28, 2016 5:00 pm
Last Updated: July 27, 2016 at 3:27 pm
By FRANCES L. TAYLOR
S.C. Forestry Commission
Joe Hamilton of Green Pond has been named District 7 Tree Farmer of the Year by the S.C. Tree Farmers Association.
Hamilton owns 26 woodland acres which he manages for timber production, aesthetics, and recreation. “While forestry is relatively new to me since my retirement in January 2014, I can see the benefits and I also realize the impact of this industry on the S.C. economy: a contribution of $18.6 billion worth. Also, I recently held a info-session with the Colleton County Middle School in an attempt to encourage minority students to develop an interest in the forestry, natural resources, environmental fields of study beyond high school,” he said.
“Since my enrollment into the Sustainable Forestry Program (SFP) (2013), and subsequent participation in the Farm Service Agency/Natural Resources Conservation Service cost share, I have adopted the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education three pillars of sustainability because it ‘fits’ (with slight modifications) the tenets of why I decided to establish SS Hamilton Farms, LLC,” Hamilton said. “I have formed an LLC to honor the legacy of my parents Steve and Sallie Hamilton.
“My management objectives for SS Hamilton Farms, LLC are firstly profit over the long term. We planted a version of loblolly pine seedlings because while I hope to enjoy the profits during the first thinning; the timber harvest and related earnings are for my children and their children’s benefit over the coming years.
“Then there is the stewardship component. My father rotated his crop planting and he allowed the land to “rest” although he did not have access to services offered by FSA/NRCS expertise. Dad always commented on the fresh clean air one breathed down on the farm whenever he took the life of a wild game, he and us would consume it.
“Lastly, quality of life, summarily, can best be described by inviting urbanites to witness the call or whistling of wood ducks overhead on a frosty morning, watching a white tail deer snort and stand alert, hear the cascading sound of wild turkeys, or see squirrels playing in the canopy of trees on my morning walks. Since I am a believer in Heaven, I wonder only if creator God has set aside a portion of heaven to look like a farm or a ranch,” he said.
“What I enjoy most about SS Hamilton Farms, LLC is actually a component of how I manage this farm. When I walk in the mornings or late evenings with my dog Buddy, I get a strong sense of what drove my dad to try to carve out a living farming agriculture, cotton, corn, potatoes, etc. He’d faced racial discrimination that I learned about from my older brother, and dad did not have an education. It is to that end, I shall endeavor to always exemplify and honor the life of my parents, who through sheer perseverance, determination, and persistence, in the face of overwhelming odds held onto the land and could see its worth.
His future plans are simple: “to remain on the land until one day my physical body is returned to the earth from whence I came. Also, I continue to seek acquisition of more lands to which I can further apply the SFP.”
Hamilton serves on the Colleton County Forestry Commission Advisory Board. He’s been a speaker at events throughout the Southeast, such as the NC AT&T Small Family Farmers Conference, concerning his work with heirs’ property and forest management. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.