Portland tree farmers receive statewide recognition for conservation efforts

Bill and Margie Haag honored as Tree Farmers of the Year from Missouri Department of Conservation

Margie and Bill Haag of Washington, Mo. stand for a photo on their 1,100-acre Portland tree farm Saturday. The couple was honored with the Tree Farmer of the Year Award from the Missouri Department of Conservation for their efforts in tree production, wildlife preservation and education.

Margie and Bill Haag of Washington, Mo. stand for a photo on their 1,100-acre Portland tree farm Saturday. The couple was honored with the Tree Farmer of the Year Award from the Missouri Department of Conservation for their efforts in tree production, wildlife preservation and education. Photo by Brittany Ruess.

When Bill and Margie Haag purchased 185 acres in Portland, they wanted an open space to hunt and enjoy the outdoors.

But one question let the Haags to a dedication to conservation.

The question, which Bill Haag asked conservationists at the Missouri Department of Conservation was how to increase the “critter capacity” of the land.

The answer — timber stand improvement, or increasing the quality of trees — wasn’t what Bill Haag bargained for.

“I know my eyes glazed over thinking about the scope and the work of it all,” Bill Haag said.

A lifelong love for conservation motivated Bill Haag, who was working at his company Moore Gear and Manufacturing in Hermann, to take on the challenge.

“Conservation has been his dream for years,” Margie Haag, Bill’s wife of 47 years, said.

Now, the Haags with help from the Missouri Department of Conservation manage 1,100 acres in Callaway County and utilize it for conservation and conservation education.

Bill and Margie Haag were awarded the Tree Farmer of the Year Award from the Missouri Department of Conservation at its annual Tree Farmers convention on Saturday, hosted at the Haag’s Portland property.

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