State to halt seedling production at Hayward nurseryThe Department of Natural Resources is consolidating its tree and scrub seedling production and ending operations at its Hayward Nursery. The Griffith Nursery at Wisconsin Rapids and Wilson Nursery at Boscobel will pick up the slack starting in 2013.
By: Superior Telegram, Superior Telegram
The Department of Natural Resources is consolidating its tree and scrub seedling production and ending operations at its Hayward Nursery.
The Griffith Nursery at Wisconsin Rapids and Wilson Nursery at Boscobel will pick up the slack starting in 2013.
The move drew criticism from northern Wisconsin Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar.
“I am deeply disappointed with the DNR Secretary’s decision to discontinue seedling production at the Hayward nursery and consolidate the operation at two southern nurseries,” he said in a statement released Tuesday. “The governor is fond of saying that Wisconsin is open for business but it appears as though the Hayward nursery is not part of his Wisconsin.”
The timing of the announcement comes as Wisconsin commemorates the centennial year of the nursery program, Jauch said.
“The decision to downsize the nursery program is a strange way to acknowledge the 100-year role of these nurseries in supporting forestry, Wisconsin’s third largest industry,” he said. “As a result of this decision more Wisconsin trees will be grown in Canada.”
The Hayward Nursery will continue to sell seedlings until the available stock is gone, which is expected to be completed in 2013, according to a DNR news release. No new trees are expected to be seeded at Hayward and plans are being developed for repurposing the Hayward facility.
Originally a federal tree nursery, Wisconsin took possession and has operated the Hayward facility since 1944.
“Our decision to consolidate nursery operations is based on changing seedling markets, customer and public input and overall need to find efficiencies and cost savings,” said Paul DeLong, DNR Division of Forestry administrator. “Part of the decision-making process included two open houses and an online survey to collect public and commercial comments and opinions on future direction of the state nursery program.
DeLong said the agency was not selling off the facility or its equipment. If demand for products produced within the state nursery system were to increase, the Hayward nursery could be put back into the seedling business quickly. The department is also willing to consider partnerships and discuss private utilization of the facility for seedling production.
“This is not a new effort,” says DeLong “We began taking steps to reduce costs-of-production over the past three to four years as we watched annual demand for our seedlings drop from 12 million per year to the current 7 million.”
Recent statewide forest inventories show Wisconsin has 16.7 million acres of forest or approximately 46 percent of the state’s land area.
“Providing a steady supply of tree and shrub seedlings that are genetically adapted for our climate zones and supporting the long-term conservation goal of sustainable forestry practices and management remains a priority for the DNR,” said Darrell Zastrow, Division of Forestry deputy administrator. “Seedling sales in recent years have declined from historic levels and we are certain that we can continue to meet demand for our products under a two nursery model.”