Tree growers campaign for planting bill

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“Trees Mean Jobs” is the message taken to Capitol Hill during a one-day Fly In organized by the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA). Seeking support for reauthorization of a national Small Business Tree Planting Bill, twenty-three green industry advocates from 11 states made more than 50 visits to our respective Congressional offices. Within 24 hours of the Fly In, five new co-sponsors pledged their support for H.R. 4509. At least a dozen other senators and representatives responded very positively and are considering signing on to the Small Business Environmental Assistance Act.

Each co-sponsorship added was a victory, and the addition of two Republicans to the roster particularly gratifying.

Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), a member of the Small Business Committee, met with his constituents and pledged support on the spot. Among the Marylanders present were several Schmidt customers including district residents Alan Jones of Manor View Nursery and Anna Martin of Moon Nurseries. Paul Crawford represented Ruppert Nurseries, which operates landscape design and maintenance centers in Bartlett’s district. Bernie Kohl of Angelica Nurseries also helped to convince the Maryland legislator to sign on.

Virginians including customer Rich Johnson of Bennett’s Creek Nursery came away at the end of the day with the promise of support from Gerry Connolly of Virginia’s 11th District, and a member of the House Budget Committee.

Singlehandedly representing the Deep South, Phillip Hunter of Hunter Trees persuaded his Congressman Mike Rogers, a Republican and a member of the House Agriculture Committee, to sign on.

Rep. Luis G Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, already appreciated by the nursery industry for his call for comprehensive immigration reform, also signed on in support of the bill.

Bob Lyons, Sunleaf Nursery, and Tom Demaline of Willoway Nursery are additional Schmidt customers who campaigned for the bill on behalf of Ohio growers.

North Carolina contingent left to right: Morris Newlin, Tracy Sides, Buddy Murow
Dennis Niemeyer, Mark Peters, Lauren Black, Michael Currin

Kit Shaughnessy and Nancy Buley attended on behalf of J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co. Kit called on Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY). Because all seven of Oregon’s Senators and Representatives are original sponsors and co-sponsors of H. R. 4509 and S.3279, Nancy attended the Fly In to help others persuade their legislators. She attended four meetings on behalf of the New Jersey delegate who was unable make the trip.

After learning how JFS propagates and sells young trees to a long list of growers including Halka, Tuckahoe, Johnson Farms, Rivendell and others, the New Jersey lawmakers gained a better understanding of how important the tree planting bill is to New Jersey’s nursery economy, and to the greening of their cities. They were fascinated to learn that the shady alleés lining the Capitol walkways originated at our nursery in Oregon and were grown to landscape size by Halka Nurseries of New Jersey.

For background information on our ongoing effort to seek reauthorization of the SBA Tree Planting Bill, go to

We deeply appreciate Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR) for his leadership in sponsoring and introducing H.R. 4509. Pictured at the Fly In breakfast, from left, are Nancy Buley of J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co., Congressman Schrader, and Corey Connors and Robert Dolibois of ANLA.

Kit Shaughnessy, representing J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co., and Marc Daniels of EuroSensations participate in the fly-in briefing.

Tom Demaline of Willoway Nurseries (OH) and Bob Lyons of Sunleaf Nursery (OH) are among the Schmidt customers who attended the Fly-In.
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