All posts by Karen

2018 Farm Bill Update

Unfortunately Congress did not come to agreement or pass an extension on the Farm Bill; while legislators will continue working on the bill, a vote is unlikely until after the elections. Current contracts will not be affected for any of the programs; but, without new legislation, new enrollments will not be accepted for programs like Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP). The significant exception is the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which was reauthorized in separate legislation earlier this year; so, new applications for EQIP could be successful.

Fall burn bans are in effect

The Fall Forest Fire Hazard Season runs from Oct. 1 – Dec. 15. During fire seasons, it is illegal to burn anything within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland between the hours of 6A to 6P. After 6P the sun goes down, the wind lessens and relative humidity increases lessening the chance of the fire getting away or spreading.

According to the state forestry division, the open burning of trash, debris and brush accounts for about 30 percent of fires. Open burning regulations are enforced by the Division for Air Quality.  It is illegal to burn garbage or any other materials, except natural plant matter, such as brush and woody debris.  Visit the Division for Air Quality website for more information.


Editor note to timber theft article

Editor’s note:  The following article is submitted by KWOA member Ed Sheehan. Although the owners do not live on the property in western Kentucky where the timber theft occurred, they had a boundary survey on file and immediately gathered extensive documentation regarding the theft that expedited prosecution of the thief. However, an unexpected action on the defendant’s part may have extended the prosecution for quite some time. Updates on this situation will be added as they become available.

Further information on Timber Theft and Trespass is available from the Kentucky Division of Forestry:

And the UK Forestry Extension:


My wife and I have owned 20+ acres in Kentucky since 2010. The property was surveyed in 2010 and was only partially fenced.  In January, 2018 we found a freshly cut area on the back side of the property.  Someone had stolen multiple trees and damaged several more.  The damage trail led all the way to a neighbor’s property and we could see a logging truck loaded with fresh timber.  Aha, caught red-handed!

I immediately contacted the Kentucky Division of Forestry who informed me they could not help me and suggested I call the county sheriff. I called the county sheriff and he told me to call the police department, which I did. The police officer informed me that it was a civil matter and I would have to hire lawyer.  So, no one would come out to file a report!

I then contacted two lawyers. The first lawyer said he was too busy and gave me the name of another lawyer.

I was determined to fight for my property and this is the process I followed.

In February 2018 I hired a surveyor, at a cost of $1,100.00, to survey the unfenced area of my property and stake it for fencing.

In March 2018 I hired a forestry consultant for an estimate of damages.  I was also given a restitution estimate of $10,332.00 and $450.00 for erosion control cost. The cost for the estimate, documentation and photos was $250.00.

I contacted the second lawyer and was told he charged 1/3 of the settlement and 1/3 of $10,332.00 was not worth his time.  So, I wasn’t getting any help anywhere!

When I compiled all my information concerning the timber theft, I visited the county attorney’s office and completed a COMPLAINT INFORMATION FORM. I presented the completed form and my folder of documentation to the county attorney. I was informed that they did not have much luck in winning these cases. So, it looked like another turn down!

Then she looked at my documentation.  I believe my thorough file (containing the property survey, loss and damage estimates, and photos of tree stumps, damaged trees, and trails of the loggers) helped to change her mind rather quickly as it only took about 15 to 20 minutes for them to decide to take action.

I was informed that the penalty of three times the value of the timber could not be applied in this situation or any damages to property because that would require a civil suit.  I was just relieved that the prosecutor was going to prosecute the thief and bring attention to the situation.  We were on our way!

When we went to court in June 2018, I was surprised to be informed before the hearing began that the defendant had agreed to reimburse me $3,000.00 (this was the cost of the stolen trees per the forestry consultant) per an agreement between the defendant and the prosecutor.  The defendant agreed to this in order to keep from being charged with a felony and the money would be paid in three monthly payments. After to agreeing to the settlement, the Defendant paid $1,000.00 to me and then changed his mind and decided not to pay the remaining $2,000.00.  He has been indicted by the county prosecutor and we are awaiting a court date.

Things must change.

Timber theft is a big problem in Kentucky and counties do not have the resources to investigate these thefts.  I believe we landowners need a process to follow and I have some suggestions.

  • The police should be required to come out and complete a written report to the land owner. The officer does not need to know the value of the timber or be certain of the boundary lines. The report only needs to list the number of trees or the approximate acreage involved. This is to be included in the folder of documentation.
  • The landowner can then contact a surveyor to confirm the boundary lines if the landowner needs an updated survey. The original or updated survey is to be included in the folder of documentation.
  • The land owner could then hire a forestry consultant for an estimate of the stolen and damaged trees along with any damages to the property which will require seeding. This is to be included in the folder of documentation.
  • Take photos of tree stumps, damaged trees, trails of the loggers and anything else that applies. This is to be included in the folder of documentation.
  • All documentation can then be turned over to the county prosecutor for necessary action.

I believe the most important part of this process is the police report. The police report states that a crime (theft and property damage) has occurred. This report should be added to state statistics concerning timber theft. This gives a more accurate representation of timber thefts occurring in the state. Without statistics, it is not recognized as a problem and no action will be taken. The landowner needs to work with the police department because this documentation is necessary when contacting the prosecutor.

Timber thieves must be held accountable and doing so will help to reduce the temptation of stealing others property. Landowners really need to work with county prosecutors to lessen timber thefts and reduce the financial burdens they must endure.

Plan to attend the KWOA/F 2019 Annual Meeting!

Plans are underway for the KWOA/F annual meeting March 26-27 at Pennyrile Forest State Park.

The tentative agenda calls for educational programs to be held from 10A – 4P on Tuesday, including field stops at the park, led by the Kentucky Division of Forestry on the topic of how water and water sheds influence and play into the management of our forests in Kentucky. There will be a hospitality hour preceding the banquet and evening program at 6P. The meeting would resume Wednesday morning with presentations from cooperators and the annual business meeting.

Highlights from August 16 quarterly board meeting

Change in board meeting dates in 2019. In 2019 board meetings will meet the SECOND Thursday of the month – Feb. 14, May 9, Aug. 8 and Nov. 14. This change will avoid conflicts with the Kentucky Agriculture Council’s meetings which convene on third Thursdays.

2019 Annual Meeting. Plans are underway for the KWOA annual meeting March 26-27 at Pennyrile Forest State Park. The tentative agenda calls for educational programs, including field stops at the park, from 10A – 4P on Tuesday led by the Kentucky Division of Forestry on  the topic of how water and water sheds influence and play into the management of our forests in Kentucky. KDF has done extensive forestry management in the park for several years. There will be a hospitality hour preceding the banquet and evening program at 6P. The meeting would resume Wednesday morning with presentations from cooperators and the annual business meeting. A meeting of the Kentucky Woodland Stewards is tentatively planned for the afternoon.

Mail Chimp has launched its first communications to more than 600 parties, both members and others with whom we want to stay in touch.

Health Task Force. The national Farm Service Agency’s Emergency Forest Restoration program may have some potential for financial compensation for trees lost to emerald ash borer. It would require submission of extensive data on wooded acres, ash trees, timeframe and projected loss by county. A key question is whether landowners can be compensated for non-timber losses such as water quality, habitat and soil quality degradation.

Strategic Plan. A new operational statement was approved by the board as well as a mission statement. A new logo is in the works.

Woodland owners with fewer than ten acres. Board members are developing program options geared to smaller land owners.

Kentucky Tree Farm System. ATF has decided NOT to charge fees to tree farms to maintain certification.

Natural Resources Conservation Service. Revisions to ranking criteria for EQIP applications will give additional points to landowners working to restore shortleaf pine forest communities as well as other rare and declining ecosystems. Additional ranking points in SEKESH (Southeast Kentucky Early Successional Habitat Initiative) will be given to those doing Forest Stand Improvement practices including mid-story removal and crop tree release as well as for prescribed burning.

Gov. Bevin Makes Appointments to Kentucky Forestry Best Management Practice Board

Media Contact: Nicole Burton

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 1, 2018) – Gov. Matt Bevin has made the following appointments to Kentucky Boards and Commissions:

Jack Stickney, Christopher Scott and Jeffrey Stringer have been appointed to the Forestry Best Management Practices Board.

  • Jack Stickney, of Irvine, is a farmer and senior geologist for the Kentucky Rural Water Association. He will represent at-large woodland owners and serve for a term expiring April 22, 2022. Jack is a KWOA board member.
  • Christopher Scott, of Bowling Green, is a forest ranger technician with the Kentucky Division of Forestry. He will represent the Kentucky Division of Forestry and serve for a term expiring April 22, 2019.
  • Dr. Jeffrey Stringer, of Lexington, is a professor at the University of Kentucky. He will represent the UK Department of Forestry and serve for a term expiring April 22, 2022.

The Forestry Best Management Practices Board updates Kentucky’s forest practice guidelines for water quality management and the Division of Forestry’s administrative regulations regarding timber harvesting operations.

Also serving on the board are Portia Brown, KWOA vice president, Harry Pelle and Lyndle Barnes, KWOA board members.

Cooperative Forestry Act Celebrates 40 Years of Helping Private Forest Owners

Posted by Joyce El Kouarti, Office of Communication, USDA Forest Service in Forestry

Jun 28, 2018

The Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978 empowered the USDA Forest Service to partner with state forestry agencies to provide technical forest management assistance to landowners. Today the Forest Service Cooperative Forestry programs, created through the Act, help individual and family forest owners balance timber management with the conservation of water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, wildfire management, and opportunities for outdoor recreation. To learn more about the Forest Legacy, Landscape Restoration, and Urban and Community Forestry programs go to:

May 17, 2018 Quarterly Board Meeting Highlights

The KWOA/F board met May 17th at the KFIA office in Frankfort to discuss a range of issues and to get updates from our cooperators.

Communications. The quarterly newsletter going to electronic format for member recipients. Due to higher postage rates and efforts to cut costs, the board discussed distributing the quarterly newsletter in electronic (pdf file) format only to members via email. It also discussed charging a higher membership fee for those who do not have internet access and would still like to receive a hard copy via USPS. Membership renewal notifications and the fall newsletter will have further information about this change.

The new Mail Chimp is up and running with a couple of emails sent to members thus far. This format and the website will become the primary social media platforms for the association. The Facebook page will refer viewers to those platforms.

2019 annual meeting. The board discussed holding the next annual meeting in western Kentucky. A committee was formed to consider site locations and program content for that meeting.

Emerald ash borer disaster. Several board members and other forestry stakeholders met with Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles on April 24th regarding economic disaster assistance for tree farms related to ash tree damage from the emerald ash borer. Commissioner Quarles also visited Joe Ball’s tree farm to see firsthand the damage he has experienced from EAB invasion. Work is continuing on this issue at the state and federal levels.

Strategic plan. A committee was formed to develop a concise (5-7 words) description of KWOA’s mission and to look at updating its logo and brochure.

The next board meeting is scheduled for August 16, 2018 at the KFIA office in Frankfort.

KWOA Embraces New Communication Technology

We live in a fast paced world. Information and issues of interest to woodland owners is often time sensitive; sometimes you need to know sooner, rather than later, about matters such as legislation impacting forestry, governmental program changes and deadlines, woodland educational events, and more. In an effort to provide more timely communications regarding issues and events of interest to Kentucky woodland owners, your KWOA board has decided to try out an email list service called Mail Chimp.

Dark LogoHave no fear, the KWOA Newsletter will still be published four times a year. We will continue to mail the hard copy to you and we also hope to offer you e-delivery options in the foreseeable future. The new email list service is completely optional, you can choose to subscribe or unsubscribe to the KWOA email list whenever you want. There will be a link on our website,  and at the bottom of each message where you can opt in or out of the email service. All KWOA emails sent through the Mail Chimp service will also have our logo at the top, our Maysville mailing address at the bottom.

Our immediate goal is to be able to reach out to members and interested contacts regarding current matters of interest. We sent our first email message as an event reminder just before the Annual Meeting back in March. We imagine using the service to let you know about upcoming events and time sensitive action items. In the past contacting you by email has been downright cumbersome and extremely labor intensive. By using the Mail Chimp list service we can much more easily send well formatted email messages to all members and even to potential members or interested parties. This new technology also allows us to send membership renewal reminders and ultimately offer electronic newsletter options, direct information links, and more. Please bear with us as we are all volunteers trying to learn this new technology together.  All in all we think using Mail Chimp will provide you with information you can use in a more timely manner, save us money (postage, printing, etc.) and a great deal of volunteer time.

Be on the lookout for a KWOA email and let us know what you think. We hope you will find our messages helpful and we are always open to your suggestions.

Growing Sustainable Forestry together,

Your KWOA Board