NEW YORK (WWTI) — According to the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York, local Christmas tree farms contribute $13.8 million to the agricultural economy.

To encourage residents to continue to purchase locally grown trees, New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball held the annual tree cutting at River Bend Christmas Tree Farm in Lake Luzerne on November 23.

According to the New York State Department of Agriculture, New York ranks sixth in the United States for the number of acres dedicated to growing Christmas trees. There are about 300,000 New York-grown trees sold by more than 750 farms in Upstate New York, which allows the state to rank this highly.

Commissioner Ball urged residents to celebrate the holiday season by cutting down their own trees and supporting the economy.

“I encourage New Yorkers to shop early this year and choose local New York farms when looking for that perfect tree this holiday season,” Ball said. “Visiting a tree farm this year to cut your own tree is a great, socially distanced, and fun way to celebrate this season of giving while supporting your local farmer and the agricultural economy.”

To further promote the industry and provide a boost to farmers statewide, the Department is sponsoring displays of local trees and handmade wreaths in all of New York’s Welcome Centers and Taste NY stores statewide. More information on these locations can be found on the Taste NY website.

Those interested in shopping at local Christmas tree vendors can find farms near them on the NYS Grown & Certified website and the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York website.