Jim Birkemeier ’76, owner of Spring Green Timber Growers, a forest-to-finished-product business
About the talk
The staff members of Birkemeier’s family business have learned to use the dead and dying trees that are ignored by the timber industry to put local people to work making and selling hundreds of finished wood products in its retail store and online to customers around the world. One special project has been helping the members of the Cornerstone Church in Spring Green to rebuild after a fire destroyed their historic building using an ash tree on their property that was in the way of the new sanctuary. Spring Green Timber Growers also teaches its business system in 20 countries and hosts visitors from 80 countries at its farm. Promoting the use of locally grown and manufactured wood products lowers the demand to clear cut the rain forests and illegally log parks and forest preserves around the planet.
About the speaker
Birkemeier grew up in Madison, and his family has owned forest land since 1968. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in forest science from UW–Madison. He’s worked as a professional forester and has been an active advocate for the forest and other forest owners around the world ever since. Frustrated with the current industrial forestry system, Birkemeier has developed a separate timber market so that growers anywhere can earn a fair income from their timber and control their own land by making high-value wood products they can sell direct to wood customers. He is the author of five books, a DVD series, and a website.