I worked on Christmas tree farms for 3-4 years while in High school.
The species of tree matters, Norway pines grow relatively fast, Spruce slower. Basically the shorter the needle the slower it grows.
A pine tree puts on one row of branches every year. So count the branches and you will get an idea, remember though one row of branches is left many times in the field when the tree is cut.
Shearing a tree slows the growth as you cut the new growth back each year to make the "perfect" shaped tree. I remember the tree farm owners were very fussy on Spruce trees and wanted us to try and cut as little as possible off them.
Also Deer can slow the growth down and make some pretty ugly trees, they love the new growth. I am cutting our tree from some trees we planted 7 years ago. It is not a big tree and kind of charlie brown like. But they work for us, it gives people something to talk about when they leave from visiting us.
If I was your age living where you do, I would plant Scotch pine and norways. I am noit sure how well spruce or balsam would do down there. Scotch trees maybe hard to get seedlings for, I just do not see them much anymore. I got my last trees trhough the DNR, you cannot sell them wirth roots on them for X number of years, I forget the number.
Pine trees are fun to grow look at and fun to sell, So go for it!
They also give cover to birds..