Season 9 - South Carolina Tree Farmers - Land of Legacy Series | Episode 1

#157 | My back is stronger than my pocketbook

January 14, 2021 | Mike Meetze

On the first episode of the Land of Legacy series, Mike Meetze takes us exploring through his favorite spots in his forest, and explains how he coined the phrase “my back is stronger than my pocketbook”.

Mike Meetze, the 2013 SC Tree Farmer of the Year, had two careers before retirement, his Engineering job and his trees. With his engineering career at the SC Department of Transportation, he designed major roadway projects like the Chattooga bypass in the Upstate, and with his trees, he built a sustainable future for his family. Legacy, in Mike’s case, means keeping his family’s 500 acres of farm and forest, and continuing the work his parents started when he was a child. His legacy Tree Farm exemplifies the meaning of sustainability, and has won many awards and recognitions over the years. Moreover, Mike, himself, exemplifies the meaning of being a true steward of the land, doing most – if not all – the work on his own, for which he has won several awards, recognitions, and honors. He serves as a leader in many organizations, but he is a true leader in SC forest landownership.

Listen now, and share this series with others, who – like all SC Tree Farmers – love the land and put the family in family forestry!

Navigation Points:

[2:10] How did Mike first acquire his farm?

[3:30] Mike’s property used to grow soybeans, wheat and cattle; now it grows timber! How did Mike and his family make that transition?

[4:25] Mike shares a little bit about his wife, Lucy Anne, and her role in the Tree Farm Family.

[7:50] Mike talks about his family heritage and how his father bought his first property.

[13:40] Mike has a pesticide license and is a certified prescribed fire manager, so he is able to take care of most treatments himself!

[18:10] Mike has four sons! Two are professional engineers like Mike and his father and the other two are in education. He also has four grandchildren, and you’ll hear from one of them.

[24:15] How often does Mike do controlled burns?

[28:40] Mike shares a special moment he had with his grandson and the joys of working on the land with his family.

[31:40] What does the future have in store for Mike and his Tree Farm?

[38:25] What kind of equipment does Mike use himself on the property?

[49:25] Mike shares some insights on quality timber.

[52:25] What’s Mike’s advice for landowners and Tree Farmers?

[54:40] Parting words of wisdom from Mike’s grandson.

Mentioned in This Episode:

South Carolina Tree Farm

Forestry Association of South Carolina

South Carolina Forestry Commission

The Center for Heirs Property Preservation

Clemson Cooperative Extension

Mike Meetze, Engineer, Master Tree Farmer, 2013 SC Tree Farmer of the Year, Newberry, South Carolina

Emily Oakman, Director of Landowner Outreach, Forestry Education and Programs at Forestry Association of South Carolina with “Bruce Wayne Oakman”




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