Meriden man awarded state ‘Tree Farmer’ award

by Clarke Davis

Larry Rutter, rural Meriden, was honored with the Forest Stewardship Tree Farmer of the Year Award Saturday near Harveyville.

The award was presented by State Forester Larry Biles at the opening of the annual Fall Forestry Festival.

Larry Rutter

Larry Rutter was equipped with an aerial photo of his tree farm and explained his plan to restore the forestry after being handed the Tree Farmer of the Year Award. Photo by Clarke Davis

The festival was held on Rutter’s land at the northeast edge of Harveyville, a 60-acre tract that Rutter has been working to improve with new tree plantings.

The tract includes two streams that feed into Lake Pomona. Rutter, a historian, researched and used U.S. Defense Department photographs from the late 1930s to document those areas where the trees had been eradicated for cropland.

He said the Defense Department photographed the entire United States prior to World War II.

“These are not as sharp as Google maps,” he said. “They were taken from high altitudes, but you can recognize the hay stacks and determine where there were forests.”

Rutter had a pictorial map of his land and pointed to the areas along the streambanks where the trees had been eliminated, the areas he has replanted.

A Leavenworth County native with ancestral roots in the Ozark country of Missouri, Rutter said he was always an outdoorsman who was taught the proper way to use a two-person, cross-cut saw as a young boy.

His great-grandfather was a logger who cut trees for railroad ties and he had a grandfather who grafted fruit trees.

“I inherited their interest in trees,” he said.

The field day included activities for children, including wagon rides given by Jim Thompson, Eskridge, with his team of Percherons.

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