For four generations the Strathmeyer family has been supplying evergreen trees from its headquarters in Dover, PA.
The family tradition began in the early 1900s, when Charles H. Strathmeyer sold trees from his grocery store in downtown York, PA. That tradition continues today, as the family sells trees from its 2,400 acres of growing fields in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Schuylkill and York counties.
In March 2002, Strathmeyer Forests, which previously operated only Case machines, decided to put the Cat 262 skid steer loader to work in the fields.
The Cat 262 quickly became popular with the operators, who have put 250 hours on the machine to date. Fitted with a special tree spade attachment, the Cat family of skid steer loaders offer tree farmers great lift and maneuverability to get their trees out of the ground and into the baskets with ease. Operator comfort in the Cat skid steers also creates better productivity and less operator fatigue on the job site.
“Change is always hard,” said Tim Strathmeyer, referring to the switch to a Cat skid steer loader.
After a brief learning curve, however, the benefits were quickly realized. “It just makes sense, the way it is set up … production wise it’s better, and it is very good for the comfort of the operator,” said Strathmeyer. The operators in the field agreed, commenting on the Cat 262’s superior strength, power and lift. In addition to the 262 for harvesting the trees, Strathmeyer Forests seasonally rents a Cat 216 skid steer for loading trees onto trucks.
The annual harvest at Strathmeyer is now approximately 200,000 trees; many of them are high-quality Christmas trees. As the company continues to expand and develop, it also has entered into a partnership with Penn State University to develop genetically superior seed types and culturing techniques.
The Strathmeyer family believes that this progressive approach to tree farming will ensure that the company will thrive for generations to come.