Purdue alumnus launches startup for genetically improved hardwoods sales, consulting

October 26, 2015  


Legacy hardwoods

Purdue graduate Aaron Forgey stands among the 100 acres of hardwood trees at his family's farm in Rushville, Indiana. Forgey founded Legacy Hardwoods LLC to sell trees that have been scientifically proven to have a better chance to become veneer wood than trees in the wild. (Purdue Research Foundation photo)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., and RUSHVILLE, Ind. - Landowners who are interested in planting trees that could produce veneer wood could benefit from a startup launched by an alumnus of Purdue's College of Agriculture.

Aaron Forgey, who earned his degree in forestry and natural resources in 2014, is the owner of Legacy Hardwoods LLC. The company is selling trees, including black walnut and black cherry, that have been scientifically proven to have a better chance to become veneer wood than saw logs.

"Veneer trees can be difficult to find in the wild, with perhaps one tree every 10 acres, which makes them so valuable," he said. "The trees that Legacy Hardwoods is producing and selling are good for aesthetics. On average they grow straighter than trees in the wild. They have fewer branches, which means fewer knots, and the branches that do grow should grow straight out to allow for a cleaner pruning cut."

Along with producing and selling trees, Forgey consults landowners to ensure they take the proper steps to maximize their investment.

"I'm not selling a commodity; I'm trying to educate as well as promote. I want people to know what it means to plant and cultivate one of these trees, that they shouldn't be expecting a miracle tree in 20 years," he said.

"Sometimes trees are planted on marginal farm ground that might be too hilly or rocky for crops. That's a good idea for land conservation, and everyday trees might rebuild the soil after a long amount of time. But if they are planting trees with improved genetics and looking for a return on investment, it won't happen. To get good, quality hardwood trees, they must be planted in good, quality ground. I want to be certain landowners know that the genetics are only as good as the ground they're put on."

Legacy Hardwoods has licensed the hardwood trees through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization. More than 20 startups based on Purdue intellectual property were launched in the 2015 fiscal year. A video about Legacy Hardwoods is available at http://youtu.be/PgARM8EfSxI.

Forgey said Legacy Hardwoods is looking to increase seed production in the future.

"Clients who want to order trees through Legacy Hardwoods should consider pre-ordering to reserve their selections," he said. "The availability of trees is based on seed production, and currently there is a limited supply, although we are planning for future expansion. We also plan to have grafted clones available for pre-order in 2016 as well."

For information on other Purdue intellectual property ready for licensing and commercialization, visit http://www.otc-prf.org. For more information about available leadership positions, investing in a Purdue startup or licensing a Purdue innovation, visit http://www.purduefoundry.com

About Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization

The Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year from the National Business Incubation Association for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org. For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Office of Technology Commercialization at innovation@prf.org 

Purdue Research Foundation contact: Steve Martin, 765-588-3342, sgmartin@prf.org 

Source: Aaron Forgey, 317-518-6519, legacyhardwoodsllc@gmail.com 

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