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2018 Annual Meeting took on rural roads, spirits, weather

The 2018 KWOA annual meeting challenged and delighted members in many ways with flavors, weather and rural roads. The adventure started on Tuesday morning, March 20th in Frankfort with a guided tour of Buffalo Trace Distillery.

Participants gained an understanding of the complexities of the bourbon making process through history, barrel house inspections and, yes, sampling several types of bourbon mid-morning at the tourism center’s bar.

“Happiness is having a rare steak, a bottle of whisky, and a dog to eat the rare steak.” —Quote by Johnny Carson in the Single Oak Project exhibit

In the same area is the Single Oak Project exhibit, a recently completed experiment to test the effects of barrels made from 96 oak trees selected from as many different locations as well as ages. The resulting bourbons, all aged for eight years, are on display as is a list of sites from which the oak trees were harvested.

From the distillery the road warriors traveled to Elk Creek Vineyards in Owen County.

After a pizza buffet lunch and some post-St. Patrick’s Day iridescent green wine, the group went below ground to see another type of barrel used to age wines and learn about the cultivation and processing of grapes.

With snow definitely in the forecast, the tour headed to General Butler State Park to continue the agenda with the evening award banquet.

Members met this year’s forestry student scholarship recipient, Abigail Adams (see spring newsletter issue for full article about Abby).

The association’s Outstanding Service Forester award was presented to Floyd Willis, KDF northeast region.

Floyd Willis accepts KWOA Outstanding Service Forester Award from Henry Duncan (left() and Frank Hicks (right). Photo by Pam Snyder, KDF

Dr. Greg Kuhns, tree farmer in Bullitt County, was recognized for over 20 years of service to KWOA as a board member, vice president, annual meeting chair and representation at national and regional American Tree Farm meetings.

Jack Rentz (left) and Don Girton (right) recognize Greg Kuhn’s leadership

 

A substantial snowfall graced the park during the night. Some speakers were unable to travel to the park for Wednesday’s educational program and cooperators reports. But quick technology fixes on both ends enable presentations by Skype from several of those scheduled. Members learned about limited supplies of white oak timber to meet growing demands, timber exports and invasive species and insects affecting woodland owners’ properties.

After hearing updates from the forestry division, university, conservation committee and forest industries association, members elected officers and board for the coming year. KWOA welcomes new board members Scott Taylor (central zone) and James Vincent (western zone). By the time the meeting adjourned the snow had melted and members were able to return home safely.

KWOA/F thanks the many individuals who planned and managed the annual meeting. Special appreciation goes to Doug McLaren who took the lead on organizing the site visits and program. Preparations are already underway for the 2019 meeting. We hope you will plan to attend.

Members elect 2018 officers and directors

The slate of officers and board members for 2018 is a mix of new and familiar faces.

Doug McLaren, previous vice president, has stepped up to the office of president. Portia Brown has moved from secretary to the vice president position. Jack Rentz, a past president, is now secretary. Some directors have renewed terms representing different zones than their previous positions. (See complete roster on back page.)

The board welcomes Scott Taylor, Danville, to the central zone slot and James Vincent, Henderson, to represent the western zone. KWOA thanks Frank Hicks, out-going president, for his commitment and service to the association.

Scott Taylor owns woodlands adjacent to his father and KWOF board member, Cliff Taylor. The family farms are in Boyle and Casey Counties. He recently retired from a long career with the University of Florida Agriculture Department where he worked in dairy and crop production, focusing on commercial vegetable production for the last 25 years. He developed the Pesticide Residue Testing Model that is used across the USA.

Taylor family (right to left) Scott with his wife and daughter, Cliff, and brother Steve (Professor at Mississippi State University), with his son Scott. Photo by Henry Duncan

As a Kentucky Master Woodland Steward and Master Logger, Scott believes KWOA has a unique opportunity to provide goods and services to society and that we need to structure our response to these opportunities in ways that are both economically and environmentally sustainable.

Jim Vincent is recently retired from a 50+ career in the plastics industry. He grew up in Robards and owns, with wife Holly, properties that include 250 acres of woodlands in Webster County and about 80 acres of wooded wetland habitat in Henderson County. Vincent is a long-time member of The American Chestnut Foundation and the Henderson Audubon Society.

Jim Vincent poses for a photo at Natural Bridge State Park

 

Jim and wife Holly

Jim says joining the KWOA board is especially exciting and relevant to that which he enjoys. He further comments, “I am very interested in good woodland stewardship and the resulting environmental, economic and recreational benefits. Being able to meet and interact with such knowledgeable KWOA members provides a great opportunity to learn more about my favorite subject.”

Jim and Holly Vincent

Single Oak Project at Buffalo Trace Distillery focuses on oak wood

The Single Oak Project displays the culmination of an eight year study of, among other factors, the effect of different types of oak wood on the final bourbon product.

Started in 1999 the experiment individually selected 96 American oak trees that differed according to grain size (tight, average or coarse based on growth rings per inch) and growing location. A single barrel was constructed from the top and bottom each tree with various stave seasonings and charrings. These single oak barrels were then filled with different recipe whiskeys, at various entry proofs and aged in a variety of different warehouse styles. All of the single Oak Project bourbons were aged for eight years.

“Happiness is having a rare steak, a bottle of whisky, and a dog to eat the rare steak.” —Johnny Carson

This experiment allows whiskey connoisseurs to directly compare the impact of seven different critical variables across 192 bottles for a total of 1,396 taste combinations. The Single Oak Project is undoubtedly the most extensive bourbon experiment ever undertaken.

And the winner is …

The winning bourbon from Barrel #80 was a rye recipe bourbon, entered into a barrel made from oak harvested from the bottom half of the tree with staves seasoned for 12 months. The grain size of the wood was considered average and the barrel received a number four char inside. The whiskey entered the barrel at 125 proof and was aged in a concrete floor warehouse.

For more information:  www.singleoakproject.com

 

Legislative Alert: A NEW Challenge to Forest Health and State Focused Funding

A set of bipartisan bills introduced in the US House and Senate as Empowering State Forestry to Improve Forest Health of 2018 which aim to “fix” the problem of proposed budgets from the US Forest Service that reduce funding to state based initiatives.

Empowering State Forestry to Improve Forest Health Act of 2018

KWOA members are encouraged to contact federal legislators to request their support for the bills.

New Challenge to Forest Health

February board meeting highlights

KWOA’s Board of Directors considered a range of issues at its February 15th meeting. It is already on the go to support fair land assessments for sustainable working forests, federal disaster assistance for woodland owners, federal funding for state-based forest health programs and state funding for land conservation.

Portia Brown, Secretary, developed an “about KWOA and why you want to join” response to an inquiry to the website’s Contact Us page. That response is available for use by KWOA members in discussions with persons interested in KWOA. A website-friendly version is posted on the News and Forest Management Practices pages of the website.

KWOA is preparing correspondence to Representative Palumbo on timber shortage and “working farms.”  Rep. Palumbo introduced HB 576 that would require farm land assessments to provide evidence that the property is actively farmed. The KWOA letter notes that Kentucky’s forestland is not as productive as it could be while demand for forest products is growing. The correspondence includes KWOA’s position paper on Sustainable Forestry and Agriculture.

KFIA announced that Cliff Taylor, KWOA board member, has been selected as the 2017 Tree Farmer of the Year is. Herb Lloyd has been nominated as Regional Tree Farmer of the Year.

Emerald Ash Borer  Joe Ball observed that the federal government subsidizes cheap food. It is important for forest industry and woodland owners to help politicians see that federal subsidies for forestry supports a healthy environment.

UK’s Forestry Department has published a white paper on The Ash Disaster in Kentucky.

The board discussed seeking some form of disaster assistance for forestry including the non-insured crop assistance program and application of certified working farm criteria. The board has formed a committee to work on the issue.

Moments after its formation Portia Brown, Don Girton, Steve Perry and Joe Ball – begin work on the new committee’s objective of obtaining federal disaster assistance for woodlands damaged by invasives Photo by Henry Duncan

The UK Forestry Department has submitted a grant application for landscape level activities to secure the future of white oak in Kentucky. A companion piece to the grant application is a set of bipartisan bills introduced in the US House and Senate as Empowering State Forestry to Improve Forest Health of 2018 which aim to “fix” the problem of proposed budgets from the US Forest Service that reduce funding to state based initiatives. KWOA was encouraged to contact federal legislators to request their support for the bills.

Land Conservation: The Kentucky Conservation Committee has prepared a letter supporting state funding for the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund which has experienced significant cuts in the last state budget and is slated for continued reductions in current budget proposals (HB 200). KWOA members are encouraged to sign on to this initiative.

A message to new woodland owners

Thank you for your interest in being good stewards of your newly acquired woodlands. Kentucky Woodland Owners Association (KWOA) is an all-volunteer affiliate of the National Woodland Owners Association (NWOA); as such, we are a great resource for the journey of learning about and practicing sustainable woodland management. Field days, short courses, annual meetings, and other events help woodland owners learn about programs and resources to help them achieve their goals. KWOA advocates for public policies that promote sound management practices.

As you may have seen on our website (www.KWOA.net ), the 2018 KWOA Annual Meeting is just around the corner on March 20-21 at General Butler State Park. This is a great opportunity to network with some fellow woodland owners and learn more.

In addition to the annual meeting, KWOA supports and promotes other educational programs such as the Woodland Owners Short Course, Tree Farmer Field Days, Master Woodland Steward Program and others. In fact the 2016 Tree Farmer of the Year for Kentucky is Jack Stickney, a KWOA board member. Jack & Teresa Stickney just hosted the Annual Tree Farm Field Day in October 2017 on their farm in Estill County!

We send out hard copy newsletters quarterly. We are also in the process of developing a Mail Chimp email function to alert members to more time sensitive issues or opportunities as they arise. Available resources vary over time, by region and by practice focus, so there is not a specific program that meets everyone’s needs all the time.

You can join KWOA online http://kwoa.net/join.htm or print & mail in a hardcopy form. We hope you will join KWOA and attend some of the 2018 woodland owners’ events. Most importantly, you can help us carry the message that sustainable management practices create healthy forests that provide long term economic and environmental benefits to the larger community.

Ambrosia beetle damage to standing dead ash

This report  is based on a survey of KY Master Loggers in response to concern about the occurrence of this damage and its potential to degrade and devalue logs. The white paper provides educational information and can inform decision-making by landowners, loggers, and the forest industry at large. Given the increasing amount of standing dead ash being logged due to the emerald ash borer, the issue of ambrosia beetle damage is likely to increase and affect new areas in the future.

2017 Ash Ambrosia Beetle Damage White Paper

For more info contact:

Ellen V. Crocker, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Scholar

Forest Health Research and Education Center

Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Kentucky

e.crocker@uky.edu

In Arizona, the trees have become the enemy of the forest.

Masses of spindly young trees crowd the forest floor and become tinder for destructive forest fires. Instead of focusing on the value of the trees to loggers, the Nature Conservancy’s Future Forests project would make it more viable to remove the young trees that make Arizona forests so dangerous. But thus far the project’s loggers, truckers and sawmills have not met tree removal targets.

Read more…

KWOA member’s experience with a timber harvest

Eric Shrader, KWOA member and woodland owner in western Kentucky, discussed his experience regarding a recent timber harvest at the KWOA board’s May 19, 2017 quarterly board meeting. The summary of his comments may be useful to other woodland owners contemplating a timber harvest.

Eric and Jo Lynn Shrader contracted with a consulting forester in 2014 to mark, sell and oversee a timber harvest on their 220+ acre woodlands. The consultant, a retired Kentucky Division of Forestry forester, developed a timber sale contract for them. The contract did not include clauses requested by the Shraders for addressing wet weather conditions and disposal of cigarette butts.

The Shraders met with the consulting forester for an initial walkthrough at their farm after the timber sale contract was signed and before the harvest began to identify control points, stream crossings, skid trails, the haul road, etc., as outlined in the BMP Handbook and master logger instructions/classes. The consultant declined to conduct a walkthrough with the loggers to discuss the preparation of the haul road. He also advised that the best management practices for harvesting timber (which are codified in the Kentucky Revised Statutes) are not meant to be literally followed in the field. Eric also requested a site visit by the KDF logging inspector prior to the start of the logging in April 2015. The inspector only reviewed the landing area and a small section of the timber to be harvested.

During 2015 the Kentucky Division of Water cited Eric and the timber purchaser for BMP #3 streamside management zones non-compliance and orders to fix. The timber purchaser fixed the damaged areas with assistance from Eric to avoid additional violation notices. DOW reports referenced BMP #4 sinkhole violations) water, silt, and mud running into sinkholes) but did not issue citations and provided instruction to divert water away from sinkholes.

The first logging crew was terminated in August 2015. A second crew was more responsive to Eric’s concerns although he found that it had not been informed of the specific contract requirements. He discussed the violations with the consulting forester prior to the loggers departing.

The loggers completed the timber harvest and left on May 9, 2016. The Shraders were pleased with the amount of timber harvested – almost 3/4 million board feet. However, they were still very concerned with the damage caused by what they considered a lack of adherence to BMPs and contract enforcement by those responsible. A KDF final Logging Inspection Report dated June 2, 2016 found no BMP violations. Eric submitted numerous requests to KDF that the report be corrected to reflect the BMP violations. No such correction has been forthcoming.

Mr. Shrader responded to questions and comments from board members. He noted several lessons learned from the timber harvest experience and expressed hope that KWOA would take an active role in educating and informing other woodland owners as to expectations, preparation and participation in timber harvests.