Making money grow on trees

'Busy Elves' Christmas Tree Farm is a money maker for one Southwest Georgia farmer. / Matt Prichard

Most businesses find it difficult to turn a profit with a 12 month buying season. For Joedi Putnal and his Christmas tree farm, he's found a way to bring in the money, with only a month to do it.

"You stay busy during that month, you hope you are, gonna stay real busy," said Putnal.

Putnal has been selling his trees since 1996, trimming each one with the intent of giving a southwest Georgia family the perfect Christmas tree.

"That's a pleasant experience, taking the children out to look for the tree, and taking it down, taking it home. Just a great experience," said Putnal.

A business needs to turn a profit though, and putnal has done it through patience and a hardy entrepreneurial spirit.

"I wasn't looking for instant gratification, I want to see things grow, I want to see things happen gradually and I want to see good results," said Putnal.

And Putnal would find those result in 2012, selling off 1,055 trees at a price tag of $42.00 each. With a quick look at your calculator that totals to $44,310 dollars in just one month. And the profits leap up even higher with the addition of a blueberry farm on the plantation.

"It's a major role player because it will produce income twice a year," said Putnal.

Putnal does have more financial breathing room than other tree farmers though, being that he retired from a 45 year career in the insurance business. But Joedi isn't shy about the pride he takes in his work, and how real a business it actually is.

"It's a vocation that I'm proud of, I could make it a hobby, but I don't want it to be that way. I work too hard for it to be considered a hobby," said Putnal.

With trees currently growing for Christmas 2017, Putnal says he's hoping to build a legacy that his family can live off in the future.

"One day I'll have to turn this over to someone else, I hope it will be one of my family members. But when that happens I want it to be to the point where they can live comfortably on it," said Putnal.

At the youthful age of 80, Putnal says he's looking forward to the Christmas's to come, and hopes to continue growing his own roots right here in southwest Georgia.