While trees are not entirely native to the rolling plains of South Dakota, they have been an important soil conservation tool across the state’s landscape since the first pioneers arrived and remain so today on modern family farms.
Farmers, the true environmentalists, have taken their share of unfair criticism during the past few years from extremists due to the removal of older shelterbelts on their land containing dead and rotting trees.
While these individuals and groups were protesting the removal of crumbling and low-functioning shelterbelts, South Dakota farmers and landowners were busy planting more trees. 719,881 is the exact number for 2014 alone from the South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts, which is over 1,000 miles of total trees, or about the distance from the South Dakota border to Washington, D.C.
Tree planting statistics from the past several years have shown a continued commitment to the land, environment and wildlife. Specifically speaking, South Dakota farmers have planted enough “field windbreaks” during the last 9 years to stretch from New York to Los Angeles (Over 2,400 miles)!
Along with improved farming practices including reduced tillage, cover crops, precision farming and enhanced water management, these tree planting statistics are simply another source to prove that South Dakota farmers and landowners have a growing commitment to a sustainable future that benefits the soil, water and wildlife.
Below are the tree totals from 2014
Total Plantings in Acres: 2,132.6
Field Wind Breaks: 718.2 acres
Farm Stead Wind Breaks: 735.3 acres
Renovation Plantings: 156.1 acres
Wildlife Plantings: 407.7 acres
Other Plantings: 136 acres
Total Trees Planted: 719,881
Deciduous Stock Planted: 390,872 trees
Coniferous Stock Planted: 329,009 trees
Farms Planted: 927
Average Trees Per Acre: 338
Thanks to all of the South Dakota Conservation District employees for their hard work and dedication and thanks to our farmers for their continued emphasis on sustainability and conservation.