Farm: Springhill Tree Farm
Location: Alachua County
Date of Origination: 1999
Commodities: Landscape trees and shrubs
Mark Buel has been the general manager of Springhill Tree Farm in Alachua County since it was started by Eugene Haufler in 1999. The farm originally specialized in ornamentals and shrubs, but has since evolved into a container tree farm that regularly ships trees state wide. They currently produce container landscape trees and shrubs, as well as, several varieties of oaks, hollies, magnolias, and elms to name a few.
Under Buel’s direction, Springhill Tree Farm has implemented Best Management Practices since 2003. BMPs are a set of guidelines that advise producers on how to manage the water, nutrient, and pesticides they are using to reduce agriculture’s impact on the state’s natural resources. One of the BMPs that have been implemented includes the use of micro-irrigation on 95% of the property. This system maximizes the farm’s watering efficiency and greatly reduces any nutrient runoff and prevents erosion.
Buel and his wife, Deborah, are active members in their church. They have also been regular members of the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscapers Association since 2000.
When asked what they enjoy most about farming, Mark responded, “The diversity of jobs and getting to work outdoors has been a couple of the more appealing aspects of running a nursery.”