Bean, R.1; Coyle, David2; Savereno, TJ3
1Area Forestry and Natural Resources Agent, Clemson University Extension, Camden, SC, 29020
2Assistant Professor - Forest Health and Invasive Species, Clemson Cooperative Extension, Clemson, SC, 29634
3Area Forestry and Natural Resources Agent, Clemson Cooperative Extension Service, Bishopville, SC, 29010


Forestry is the #1 industry in SC with an annual economic impact of $21.2 billion dollars.  The forest industry is also #2 in labor with 98,306 jobs and $4.95 billion in annual income.  Although timber products are the primary market, landowners pursue alternative sources of income. Pine straw is extremely popular as a mulch in the southeastern United States, and because of this pine straw harvesting is a strong industry in the region. Raking pine straw can be an attractive and valuable source of income for forest landowners, providing an opportunity to cover some of the costs associated with establishment and maintenance associated with longleaf pine ecosystems.

Evaluations from multiple previously conducted programs indicated a strong desire to learn more about pine straw harvesting as an alternative income source for forest landowners in SC.  Before beginning to develop a program to address these requests a needs assessment was conducted and educational goals were identified.  These goals included increasing the knowledge, productivity, and profitability of forest landowners in the following areas: pine straw markets, pest management in pine straw producing stands, forest health and invasive species, ecological impacts of raking pine straw, prescribed fire and pine straw production, and fertilization of pine straw producing stands.

The Pine Straw Workshop and Field Tour program was offered on September 10, 2019 and again on November 14, 2019 due to the level of interest.  The workshop included 3.5 hours in the classroom followed by a field tour. 

Eighty-one participants from SC, NC, and GA attended two workshops/field tours.  Based on evaluations, 51% currently rake pine straw with 43% raking 0-25 acres, 29% raking 51-100 acres, 14% raking 26-50 acres, and 14% raking 100 or more acres.  100% of participants increased their knowledge, 86% found the field tour beneficial, and 100% were interested in advanced level workshops in the future.  82% indicated that they would also save and/or earn more money as a result of the knowledge gained by attending this workshop/field tour.  This program encouraged landowners to implement pine straw harvesting methods on their property thereby increasing their financial returns.

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