Season 9 - South Carolina Tree Farmers - Land of Legacy Series | Episode 3

#159 | This land is doing what it does best, and that’s growing trees

January 28, 2021 | Eddie Drayton

This week in the Land of Legacy series, Eddie Drayton takes us deep into his bottomland hardwood forest, where the history is just as rich as the soil. 

Eddie Drayton has always been tactical and intuitive. In particular, he tactically traded Grit newspapers for Fudgesicles as a child, and he intuitively changed his career path in dentistry to do something a little different – forestry. As a forester, Eddie managed thousands of acres of pine and hardwood forests for Sonoco Products Co., but he found his passion among the oaks. This passion for bottomland hardwood forests developed into his “niche,” and that passion is what he is best known for now. His reputation and his oaks have grown tremendously over time, thus coining him the title of the cherrybark oak expert among the SC Tree Farm community. Owning his own land led Eddie to discover another passion, preserving history. Eddie found that by owning the land and understanding the history behind the land, he was able to keep its history alive and appreciated as a part of his own story. 

His love of land and history has fueled his desire to keep his land forested, and he has managed to restore it into what is now 1,704 acres of beautiful, healthy bottomland hardwoods that are in better condition now than they were 200 years ago. This display of true stewardship, determination, and love of the land landed Eddie the much-deserved award of South Carolina Tree Farmer of the Year in 2008. Between Eddie’s humor, knowledge of history, and extraordinary story-telling, this episode will have you entertained from beginning to end. 

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

Navigation Points:

[2:15] How did Eddie get into forestry?

[4:00] Eddie was originally going to be a dentist!

[6:35] Eddie shares how he got into Tree Farming and how he went about purchasing his first property.

[8:45] Find out how Linda is a 50% owner and Edide is a 100% worker. 

[9:00] Linda shares her first impressions of the land when they finally bought it. It was definitely runned down. 

[11:05] Eddie shares a little bit about the history of agriculture and forestry in Society Hill. 

[18:30] Find out what the huge boom in cotton production in 1917 had to do with forestry in South Carolina.

[20:45] How has logging and forestry evolved over the decades? 

[26:55] When Eddie and Linda bought their woodlands, they had a lot of work ahead of them. 

[29:45] Eddie breaks down in detail some of the beautiful trees and foliage he has on his property. 

[37:35] This property is now in its 6th generation of growing trees.

[40:35] Eddie shares where he sees for the future of his Tree Farm. 

[44:05] Eddie has a conservation easement on his property. Find out what that means and what lessons you might glean for yourself? 

More Information:

South Carolina Tree Farm

Forestry Association of South Carolina

South Carolina Forestry Commission

The Center for Heirs Property Preservation

Clemson Cooperative Extension

Eddie Drayton of Bishopville, SC, Cattails Tree Farm and 2008 SC Tree Farmer of the Year with “Mr. Big,” his prized cherrybark oak.

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




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