The Arkansas Tree Farm Program recently selected the G. William Smith Family as the Tree Farmer of the Year. The Smith Family Tree Farm is located in Princeton (Dallas County.)


A free tour of the property will be held Friday, Oct. 25. For details and to register for the event, visit https://arkforests.org/event/SmithTF.


The Smith family was honored during the Arkansas Forestry Association (AFA) annual meeting Oct. 10 at the Embassy Suites Hotel at Little Rock.


The Smith family has been sustainably managing their forest since their grandmother, Rena Benson, homesteaded the approximately 360 acres of pine-hardwood timber in 1911, according to a news release.


“On April 1, 1944, the farm became recognized as a tree farm in Arkansas under the management of Ms. Benson’s son, G. William Smith. This property was the fourth parcel of timberland instated by the American Tree Farm System in Arkansas and is the longest existing tree farm in the state. It is the third oldest in the nation,” according to the release.


“The property has a comprehensive Forest Stewardship Plan written at the requests of the landowners, Billie Smith Hopson and Florence (Flossie) Smith Barker, daughters of William Smith. The plan covers multiple management prescriptions required by both the Tree Farm Program and the Forest Stewardship Program. The primary focus areas are timber management and health, soil and water quality, management of the tract for wildlife habitat as well as threatened and endangered species. The family returns to the property each year to create memories and remember their family history,” according to the release.


Bill Chaney, Forester II with the Arkansas Department of Agriculture – Forestry Division, nominated the Smith family for the award.


“Since working with Billie and Flossie, I have realized and ‘felt’ the love and deep reverence they have for this property and their family - past, present and future,” Chaney said. “They are an excellent example of what good stewards of the land represent. Their passion for their property – from past and to present, has and will continue to guarantee the future for their family for generations down the road. It is an honor, privilege, and pure joy working with this family.”


The Arkansas Forestry Association sponsors the Arkansas Tree Farm Program. Details: Jennifer Johnson, 501-374-2441.