LAMAR COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - A sense of serenity as you step inside one of nature's habitats. Welcome to Turkey Pine Plantation.
“You know the real beauty of the farm is a lot more than just planting, growing and harvesting trees,” Henry Hudson said.
The landscape of natural beauty stretches across more than 100 acres.
“It’s Heaven. All the wildlife, you see deer, turkey and even squirrels," Kay Hudson said. "We are very blessed.”
As a beam of sunlight radiates through the tree tops, the picturesque view is only a snapshot into the tranquil tree farm up-kept through a labor of love.
“The bald eagle occasionally, the geese, the deer and the turkey. It’s those kinds of things," Henry said. "It’s the recreational activity that we have because of the farm.”
Nestled on the outskirts of Sumrall in Lamar County, this tree farm is home to Henry and Kay Hudson. Passed down through the family, the whispering pines and gentle waters serve a much greater purpose.
“Our farm produces some income for us through the harvest of trees, but it also serves as a sanctuary for wildlife,” Henry said.
Along with a 24 acre watershed lake which is a sustainable fishery, Turkey Pine Plantation grew to life in 1998. The couple moved from Memphis to their land of milk and honey made up of loblolly and longleaf pines that have been rooted in their family tree for more than 70 years.
Creating a sustainable forest, the Hudson’s own and operate the only American Tree Farm System Certified Tree Farm in Lamar County.
“It’s the regeneration from the J.J. Newman harvest back in the early 1900s,” Henry said.
The couple's hard work is highlighted through the Mississippi Forestry Association naming them the recipient of the 2019 MFA Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year.
“A lot of work. About 20 years of work to be honest with you,” Henry said.
“We are so proud of the Hudson’s to be in Lamar County. They have a beautiful farm as you have seen,” state Sen. Joey Fillingane said.
Fillingane, who represents District 41 where Turkey Pine Plantation is sowed, says the state of Mississippi is made up of a little more than 60% of forested land encompassing more than 19 million acres.
“You know, forestry and poultry are the two number one economic generators here in Mississippi and we are still largely an agricultural state," Fillingane said. "So, timber in this state is keen and we are so proud this beautiful tree farm is right here in Lamar County.”
“All of those things working together, it’s amazing that the sum total working together is greater than the sum of the individuals by themselves," Henry said. "I call it a forest multiplier. It gives you more than you put in for it.”
As their work blossoms into recognition across the Magnolia state, the gates close for the evening at Turkey Pine Plantation.
The Hudsons will also represent Mississippi in the 2020 National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year competition sponsored by the American Tree Farm System.