On episode 6 of the Land of Legacy series, retired Army Col. John Spearman shares his story about marrying into a traditional farming family, and how he learned - and grew - in some surprising ways.
Like all Tree Farmers, John’s story is unique, and it involves his family every step of the way. But if you think marrying into an already working farm operation is easy - think again, because John’s story demonstrates that familiar Tree Farmer grit, intelligence, and adaptability with an eye to the future. You’ll sit with John and his son, Vaughn, a forestry and wildlife professional himself, in their favorite spot among hardwood trees at the edge of an escarpment on the Santee River. You will not only hear their history and their stories of edible plant hikes, light-tackle fishing and special places, but you will also learn how the family farm evolved, weathered the eye of Hurricane Hugo, worked as a team through military deployments, and how John’s graduate work took Tree Farm planning to a new level. You’ll learn about “trashy farming” and how it reinvigorated their quail population, what Deer Hill Farm taught the world about longleaf pine, and how the Tree Farm became the hub of formal research that gained John and his family international fame. But you won’t just be a witness to their journey, you’ll feel like you are a part of the family as you join three generations - some with very small voices - romping in a wild berry patch and feeding the fish at their favorite pond.
John Spearman is a true legacy-leader in the SC Tree Farm community, and shares his passion, big heart, big smile, and big dream for leaving the land better than he found it with anyone who is willing. For this any many other reasons, John won the 1999 SC Tree Farmer of the Year and the 2004 Regional Tree Farmer of the Year. It is with the utmost respect, love, and honor, that we are able to share his story with you.
Listen now, and share this series with others, who – like our SC Tree Farmers – love the land and put the family in family forestry!
SC Department of Natural Resources
SC DNR Wildlife Management Guide
Landowner’s Guide to Longleaf Pine
SC Wildlife Federation
SC Forestry Commission Longleaf Pine Restoration Grant
The Longleaf Alliance, Why Longleaf?
The Longleaf Alliance, Cost-Share and Assistance
Alternative Income for Forest Landowners:
Mississippi State University Extension
University of Georgia Extension
American Forest Foundation:
Estate and Succession Planning:
US Forest Service
American Forest Foundation
Find a Forester in the Pee Dee Region:
My SC Woods
My SC Woods Facebook page