ECHO BAY, Ont. – Trent Massey was a farmer raising cows, chickens, pigs and goats in Echo Bay, Ont. 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 Massey 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,” Massey explained. “I wanted to see more deer passing through, I wanted the benefits of a windbreak 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 says 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.”

Massey worked with Brent Atwell of REGEN Forestry, a Forests Ontario planting partner, to conduct two plantings on his property. Massey 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, Massey 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.
Massey’s relationship with Atwell, 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.

Massey is recognized as a Green Leader, an award which recognizes individuals for their commitment to tree planting and land stewardship.