Congaree Land Trust Land Protection Consultant, William P. Cate receives prestigious Tree Farmer of the Year Award

December 1, 2015

COLUMBIA, SC –   The Congaree Land Trust (CLT) is pleased to announce that CLT Land Protection Consultant, William P. “Billy” Cate, has received the South Carolina Tree Farmer of the Year Award from the South Carolina Certified Tree Farm Committee.  Cate has been involved with the Congaree Land Trust for over a decade, having served as both a Board member from 2002-2008 and as the Executive Director for the organization from 2008-2012.

Cate is a second generation tree farmer and is dedicated to land conservation and the proper management of his own 1,268 woodland acre farm, known as Buckeye Farm.   Cate’s parents, Nilla and Charlie Cate won the same award for their work on the same tree farm in 1979.  Cate commented, “I think they would be pleased indeed and I thank them for instilling in me a love for land a sense of place and teaching me to do the best you can with what you have.”

Cate manages Buckeye Farm with three primary objectives in mind including: timber production, wildlife management and aesthetics.  Committed to protecting and preserving his property for future generations, he and his family placed a conservation easement on their property in 2001.  Cate commented, “I have come to think of a conservation easement as exercising the ‘ultimate property right.’ I get to decide how my land is going to be managed long after I’m gone, no matter who owns it.”  

As a landowner and a tree farmer, Cate is a valuable member of the Congaree Land Trust team as he offers a unique perspective to other landowners interested in the conservation easement process.  “I have worn both hats and can speak to the concerns of both parties when discussing the prospect of a conservation easement.”  Cate works together with the land protection team to help landowners assess what they want the mission to be for their property.   Cate commented, “Every landowner must ask ‘What do I want my land to do for me?’  Land management is multi-generational, and you have to manage your land as though you will always be here to benefit from it.  It is multi-generational that way.”

“Buckeye Farm is a beautiful property that the Cate family has graciously shared for several of our member outings,” offered Stuart White, CLT Executive Director.  “We are very fortunate to have Billy as a representative of the Congaree Land Trust and we can’t think of a more deserving person for this award!”  

The Congaree Land Trust is in its third decade of conserving South Carolina’s scenic lands to help preserve the visual landscape, keep the water and air cleaner, and make it possible for future generations to enjoy the same recreational and agricultural opportunities that we enjoy today.  CLT now protects almost 60,000 acres in central South Carolina. Founded in 1992, CLT works to establish conservation easements for landowners in a twelve-county area of central South Carolina that includes Bamberg, Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter, Williamsburg counties.

CLT has supporters who share a passion for preserving the scenic South Carolina we enjoy today.  Membership is open to the general public at various levels and members enjoy a variety of activities including quarterly day-hike excursions on protected properties.  For more information on conservation easements and membership in the Congaree Land Trust, please visit their website