Northern Michigan Christmas Tree Farms Feel Impact of Truck Driver Shortage

Christmas tree farms across northern Michigan are working to ship trees across the country.

But many say they’re having a hard time finding truck drivers to take the trees.

It’s part of a nationwide shortage of truck drivers.

If they are able to find a driver, the price is higher than it’s been in years.

This is the busiest time of year for Christmas tree farms and they’ve spent the past few weeks working through this challenge to make sure trees get where they need to be on time.

Needlefast Evergreens in Mason County loaded up their last truckload of Christmas trees Tuesday afternoon, but finding these trucks has been the most challenging and expensive part of the young holiday season.

“From what we’ve been told by the brokers, the drivers are required to have e-logs by the end of the year and so the price is going up because they are trying to pay for those logs, but also there’s a number of drivers who don’t want to comply with that rule and they say that they’re dropping,” said Co-owner Ben Nickleson.

Watson Tree Farm in Missaukee County says other factors are contributing to the driver shortage.

“Demand, hurricane relief, seasonal freight, that’s what we’re running into is they want the loads and they’ll double and triple the prices of what it was two weeks ago,” said owner Ron Watson.

There’s also higher demand for trees across the country. Add that in, and these farms say this has been one of the most challenging seasons in recent memory.

“The stress factor, knowing that we can only load so many loads a day and pulling trucks from all over the country, and we’re shipping to California as well as New York and as far down as Mexico,” noted Watson.

“We just got to find a way to get more drivers on the road and we’ll see where it goes,” said Nickleson.

This all means you’ll likely pay more for a tree this year especially at big box stores.