2020 Tree Farmer of the Year – a love of the land, legacy of stewardship


The Washington Tree Farm Program announced this week that a family-run tree farm in Lewis County is the recipient of this year’s top tree farmer honor. Patty Vance, owner and manager of the Elmore Vance Tree Farm, was named 2020 Washington State Tree Farmer of the Year.

Elmore Vance Tree Farm, located six miles south of Randle, is a 148-acre tree farm consisting of indigenous trees like Douglas fir, cedar, alder and maple. The tree farm is named after Vance’s father, who purchased the property in 1965. Vance, along with the rest of the family, has continued her father’s legacy of stewardship and actively managing the land.

“My father loved the outdoors, and he loved the land,” said Patty Vance. “I feel my family is fortunate because my father planted the seed that this property will remain in the family for generations and generations to come.”

In addition to being a working forest, Vance describes the Elmore Vance Tree Farm as a wildlife haven that is home elk, deer, cougar, bear, pileated woodpecker and bats.

Of the 148 acres, 122 are enrolled in the American Tree Farm System. Vance has been a certified tree farmer for 12 years. The tree farm is managed for multiple objectives including commercial timber production, wildlife habitat and recreation. For nearly a decade, Vance has been active with the Lewis County Farm Forestry Association and was named 2019 Lewis County Tree Farmer of the Year.

“Patty is enthusiastically continuing the legacy began by her father by managing her forest for generations to come,” said Devon Powell, the past president of the Lewis County Farm Forestry Association. “Her enthusiasm for learning about forestry is obvious when she attends our chapter meetings.”

“I am very fulfilled being a tree farmer and being a good steward to the land,” she said. “It’s just really fulfilling to plant trees and contribute to clean air and water.”

The Washington Tree Farm Program administers the certification of more than 400,000 acres of forestland under The American Tree Farm System® (ATFS), a program of the American Forest Foundation. ATFS is the largest and oldest sustainable woodland system in the United States, internationally recognized, meeting strict third-party certification standards. As part of the certification process, each state participating in the ATFS recognizes one of its members as Tree Farmer of the Year. A national winner will be selected by the American Forest Foundation in 2021.