Franklin Countys First News

Wilton landowner receives 2018 Maine Tree Farmer of the Year

Rep. Russell Black

WILTON - Rep. Russell Black and his family at Black Acres in Wilton has been awarded the 2018 Maine Tree Farmer of the Year award.

The Maine Tree Farm Program recognizes the superior stewardship of its members through the annual Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year recognition program. These landowners are recognized for their remarkable efforts to enhance and sustain their forests and for spreading the practice of sustainable forestry. State winners are eligible to compete for the Regional and National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year awards.

Black, his wife Susan Black and son James Black manage a 400-acre farm in Wilton. The family has been in the tree farming business since the early 1970s, when Black was motivated by forester Abbott Ladd to join the Maine Tree Farm program. Black works with foresters Bob Leso and Amanda Dow Smith to manage a commercial sugarbush operation, wildlife conservation and timber production. They also farm, raise cattle and tend many bee hives.

Black and his family have welcomed many to their farm on Maine Maple Sunday, Open Farm Days, Halloween haunted hay ride in the past and forestry workshop events. It is truly a working Tree Farm, for which he and his family do most of the work.

Black is very involved in community organizations such as the Soil and Water Conservation Committee, and is a member of the Farm Bureau, the Wilton Lions, Maine Maple Producers, Maine Hog Growers, Maine Woodland Owners, Chairman of the legislative Task Force for Maple Syrup, Wilton Fish and Game, MOFGA, Director of Farmers Union and the East Wilton Union Church.

For more information in the Maine Tree Farm program, call 207-613-6837 or Email:, or check out the website at

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15 Responses »

  1. Is there anything that Russell doesn't do? Congratulations Black Family. You are all outstanding!

  2. Congratulations!! Well deserved!!

  3. Congratulations on all your hard work. Well deserved award.

  4. Congratulations Russell !! You and your family have done amazing things and great accomplishments over the years. Well done.

  5. Congratulations to the Black family. Great stewards of the land and forest.

  6. And they were awarded Conservation Farmers of the year in 2016. Congratulations again!

  7. Congratulations Russell

  8. This is a great honor for my parents who have worked tirelessly over the last 50 years managing, improving and adding to the family farm. The sugar bush and working forests have and will continue to provide sustainable resources, recreation and family traditions for many generations.

  9. Hope to follow in your family's footsteps one day.. takes a lot of small steps to get there.. Thanks for the wonderful example and advice when we meet up! Congratulations!

  10. I remember Abbot Ladd. In my younger days I used to plant pine seeding and prune pine trees for him. Pruning trees was hard work even back then. Good job for the Black family.

  11. Congratulations Russell.

    Carol MC

  12. Awesome! Congratulations to the Black Family.

  13. Excellent. Congratulations to the Black family!

  14. Abbott Ladd was a neighbor of ours in Dixfield. He had my Girl Scout troup plant trees with him at some point. What a great man. The Black family does amazing things!