News: Neillsville - Sends Christmas Tree Overseas to Military (2011)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Kopp, Helmbrecht

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 12/07/2011

Family Sends Christmas Tree Overseas to Military (2011)

Sargeant John Kopp received his Christmas tree this past week in Bahrain. Kopp’s family, Tim and Nancy Kopp of Neillsville, sends trees to soldiers during the holiday season. (Contributed photo)

By Tony Opelt

Nancy and Tim Kopp, of Kopp Forest Products, Neillsville, are providing some holiday cheer to their son, SPC John Kopp, 11th Brigade Air Defense Artillery, stationed in Bahrain.

“We wanted to send our son a little bit of Wisconsin and a whole bunch of love to celebrate the Christmas season,” said Nancy. “John has helped to plant, shear, harvest, ship and sell trees since he was old enough to walk. We feel especially blessed, so we decided to send a Christmas tree in honor and appreciation of his service to our country.”

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) can help to assure trees will be accepted overseas for other Wisconsin families who would like to send their loved ones a Christmas tree.

Christmas trees are an agricultural product; therefore, they must be accompanied by additional special paperwork when leaving the U.S. This paperwork, a phytosanitary certificate, states the Christmas tree is not carrying insects or disease that could be introduced into the destination country and the “phyto” travels with the tree.

There are several steps that must be taken to send a Christmas tree overseas. First, senders must contact the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial shipping business to learn size, weight and pricing requirements to select the proper size tree; it is always a good idea to visit a licensed Wisconsin Christmas tree grower. Ask a grower if they have a Plant Health Certificate (PHC) and ask for a copy; make sure to tell the grower the tree will be shipped overseas as only growers with a PHC can send their trees out of the country.

Once all of these steps are taken, Greg Helmbrecht, plant health specialist with DATCP, must be contacted at 608.224.4596 and request a phytosanitary certificate. It should be explained the tree is going to an active duty military family member overseas; there will be a small charge for the phyto.

Once the phyto is issued, it is safe to contact the shipping organization previously selected to send the tree. The phyto certificate should be sent with the tree.

The Kopps were kind enough to share some tips for choosing the right tree to be shipped. First, any soft or supple-needled tree is best. They recommend a balsam or Fraser fir. The tree should be bundled as tight as possible by the grower. The final piece of advice is to plan for 10 to 14 days for delivery.

“Once the tree arrives at its final destination, the recipient should cut off about one-quarter to one-half inch disk from the bottom of the trunk and then place the tree in fresh water, Tim said. “Water the tree daily; a fresh tree can take up a surprising amount of water. Allow a day or so after unbundling before decorating to allow the tree to resume its natural shape.”




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