FREDERICTON, N.B. – Maritime Christmas tree growers are feeling quite festive.
A drop in the Canadian dollar and growing demand for Canadian trees south of the border means growers could be in for a lucrative year.
Ninety per cent of Adam Stone’s balsam firs at Hilltop Christmas Tree Farm near Fredericton are sold along the eastern seaboard of the United States.
“We always sell our trees in U.S. dollars and the last few years we’ve been selling our money at a loss,” he said.
That’s not the case this year. The value of the Canadian dollar has dropped about 12 per cent from last November. So Stone is aiming to make a lot more green off his exported trees this year.
“I mean just us alone probably $40-$60,000 and we’re a small grower.”
Stone is also President of the New Brunswick Christmas Tree Growers Association. He says New Brunswick and Nova Scotia combined sell close to $90-million worth of Christmas trees and greenery, much of which is exported to the U.S.
“If the dollar is better in the U.S. it is better for us Christmas tree growers in Canada.”
He says growers in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia could potentially make an additional $10-million in revenues this year.
According to Colette Wyllie of the Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia, demand for Canadian Christmas trees is also growing steadily along with the number of households south of the border.
“There is a shortage of other fir species in the U.S., the fraser fir, noble fir and douglas fir and so the hope is that the balsam fir which we grow here in Nova Scotia will be able to fill in those spots where there is a shortage.”
Wyllie says demand for Canadian trees is expected to grow even larger over the next five years. Which means Stone will likely have to hire more staff again next year.
“We have probably 5 to 6 more people just to get our product across and load the trucks.”