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Trees Breathe New Life into Farmer’s Land – And Second Career

Trent Massey recognized as a Green Leader after planting new forest

Trent Massey was a farmer raising cows, chickens, pigs and goats in Echo Bay, Ontario—home of The Big Loonie. But when he had to pack the business in and sell his livestock, he and his wife were left wondering what to do with their sprawling 30 acres of land.   

When Trent was introduced to Forests Ontario’s 50 Million Tree Program (50MTP), things fell into place. 50MTP, a province-wide program, provides funding support and technical assistance to landowners wishing to plant trees.

“I’ve always loved the outdoors and wildlife,” Trent explained. “I wanted to see more deer passing through, I wanted the benefits of a wind-break during winter, and privacy from the highway that runs next to our property. Trees can provide all of those things.”

Tree planting can also add substantial value to land, which is one of many reasons Forests Ontario say farmers should consider planting trees on their properties. “We commend Trent for diversifying his farm and planting trees” says Rob Keen, CEO at Forests Ontario. “Those trees will help to sequester carbon and improve the quality of the soil, air and water on Trent’s property.”

Trent worked with Brent Atwell of REGEN Forestry, a Forests Ontario planting partner, to conduct two plantings on his property. Trent requested to have hands-on involvement from start to finish. He prepared the land himself, plowing the fields and tilling the soil. Although it is not necessary for a landowner to physically take part, Trent recommends those involved with 50MTP to, “get out there and do what they can. It’s great to actually take ownership of the trees and feel like you’ve contributed.”

White spruce, Jack pine, White cedar, Norway spruce, and Poplar were all planted—an impressive total of 5,500 trees in all. This mix of species will serve several purposes on Trent’s land; from creating a windbreak around the perimeter of the property, providing privacy and creating habitat for wildlife.

Trent’s relationship with Brent, and his keen interest in forestry, landed him a job with REGEN Forestry. He is now the Resource Manager with the organization, a role he enthusiastically enjoys.  This new career path has been a blessing for Trent, and he is excited to become more involved in the world of forestry.

Trent is recognized as a Green Leader, an award which recognizes individuals for their commitment to tree planting and land stewardship. “Trent Massey is an excellent advocate for the 50 Million Tree Program and for fighting climate change,” said Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Kathryn McGarry. “I encourage others to find out how they too can participate in this important program.”

Planting trees through the 50 Million Tree Program will help to sequester carbon, enhance and diversify Ontario’s landscape, increase the capacity to withstand climate change, and contribute to wildlife habitat. For more information on the 50 Million Tree Program, contact Forests Ontario at 416-646-1193, or visit www.forestsontario.ca/50MTP.