Jack Rasmussen

What would you plant on a cleared 50 acre parcel? A veneer plantation? Well, that’s what WWOA member, Jack Rasmussen of St. Croix County, did, with a little push from his older brother, of course.

Jack purchased the property in 1993. It was an open piece of land after having been enrolled in CRP following years of agriculture. He didn’t have plans for the property when he bought it, but his brother, Dane, convinced him it was best to plant trees on the land.

With a background in research and development, Jack applied the same critical thinking skills to his land, and invested a year’s time to study and plan the reforestation of his newly purchased property.

After much thought, Jack decided to pursue a veneer plantation. He knew it was a lofty goal and not something he would see in his lifetime, but someone’s children would, and that is what made it worthwhile to Jack.

“People tell me, trees take so long to grow, you’ll never see anything from it because it takes too much time,” to which Jack responds, “If I don’t plant a tree, nobody will see it grow.”

Jack emphasizes, “It’s not for me, it’s for the future. It’s not about the money. It’s about making the property better than the condition you received it in.”

Jack knew he had a lot of learning to do, so he worked with fellow West Central Chapter member, Jim Nelson, to learn about tree planting. The next year Jack got to work and ordered a mix of 45,000 trees comprised of red pine, red oak, sugar maple, and white ash.

To learn more, Jack participated in Wisconsin’s Woodland Leadership Institute, which inspired him to tackle buckthorn in St. Croix County. After achieving success on his own woodlands in the battle against buckthorn, Jack was eager to share his knowledge and experience with others and submitted an article to the Fall 2011 Woodland Management magazine. Jack’s motto, “Make it a 30 minute job today, before it becomes a 30 day job tomorrow.”

With time, Jack decided to purchase two additional parcels to accompany his 50. He actively manages those, too, noting, “You have to make the room and time to be a responsible steward of your land.”

As his woodlands have grown, so has Jack’s passion for sustainable forestry. He quickly followed his brother’s footsteps and became more involved with WWOA, serving as a past chapter chair and currently, as vice chapter chair. He regularly gifts memberships to extend the same helping hand to others that his brother did to him. Jack also hosted West Central Chapter’s 2017 spring field day.

Field days are Jack’s favorite WWOA activity, “If I’m available, I always go because I like to see what others are doing on their land…I love the camaraderie of the field days and I enjoy not only what I can teach other people, but what I can learn from others.”

Jack expresses how much he enjoys the camaraderie of WWOA. He explains, “I’ve learned a lot from other WWOA members…and after being involved, WWOA has given me the backbone, too, to teach others what I know.”

He encourages others to make the most of their WWOA membership, “You have to be willing to learn and put it to practice. It’s upon us to learn-you have to be a sponge and take it in. You don’t gain this knowledge overnight-it takes a lot of years to gain a firm understanding.”

Jack enjoys looking through old photos to see how much everything has grown. He cites one favorite of his son in Green Bay Packers gear kneeling beside a tree, “It’s so neat to see how much that tree has grown and how much he has, too.” Memories like that motivate Jack to spend every moment he can in the woods.