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Intrepid hikers trek to bridge

The annual meeting was not all speakers and business. Several members found time between rain storms to hike up to The Bridge. Portia and Jerry Brown, Jerry Adams and Jerry Schneider completed the trek at dawn the first day of the meeting to watch the sun come up under the bridge before the day’s indoor programs began.

Bridge at dawn
Photo by Portia Brown

As one astute member later observed, the three men gave a whole new meaning to gerrymandering. The three Jerry’s paused from their meandering long enough for this photo op.

The Jerry’s meandering from left to right: Jerry Brown, Jerry Adams and Jerry Schneider
Photo by Portia Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They were not alone in their quest. Karen and Steve Marshall hit the near vertical trail the evening before and just ahead of a furious rain storm.

 

Updates from our cooperators – first quarter 2017

Forest fires

The Kentucky Division of Forestry implemented some novel procedures to address the 2016 fall forest fire hazard season (October 1 through December 15). Bill Steele, KDF Director, reported that 50,000 acres burned in the state last fall. KDF gave crash courses in fire fighting to staff from the state Mining and Fish &Wildlife agencies, as well as volunteer firemen in 2016. The agency plans to increase the number of seasonal firefighters whose pay is funded during the fire season. This expansion will free up its rangers in 2017 to implement prescribed burns, trail maintenance, invasives control and streamside management. (The spring fire season stretches from February 15 through April 30.)

Logging inspections

The above changes to rangers’ duties also intends for them to conduct fewer logging operation inspections. There are currently 50 rangers qualified to inspect logging sites who conduct 80-90 inspections per year.  By law the rangers are only required to respond to complaints, bad actors and requests for assistance.

Tree nurseries

Kentucky’s two nurseries have lost $400,000 in the last two years. The goal is to have them break even in the next two years. One initiative will be to grow more white oak with assistance from the state’s distilleries who require this species for their bourbon barrels. Another push will be plant tree seedlings on 140,000 acres of abandoned mined lands in eastern Kentucky. Although there are some land preparation and property ownership issues, Pam Snyder reported that there is Abandoned Mined Land Reclamation funding for the tree planting.

Forest management plans and NRCS

Progress in reinstating NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) reimbursement to KDF for marking trees should expedite the backlog of forest management plans. NRCS is also expanding the number of technical service providers (private consulting foresters who have met the TSP certification) to write Conservation Activity Plans for Forest Management (CAP-FM). In addition, the traditional Conservation Stewardship Plan is being expanded to include a practice plan and new program elements now called enhancements. Two thirds of the enhancements are forestry or wildlife related. Hopefully this change will speed up the EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) application process.

Intergenerational transfer of family farm is cyclical, not linear

“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you” is the ultimate conversation stopper, says Steve Isaacs, UK extension coordinator for farm management, in the complex and often unpleasant and unproductive dialogue between family generations regarding what will happen to the family farm.

Steve Isaacs de-bunks popular myths about how to transfer the family farm
Photo by Billy Thomas, UK Forestry Extension

Family farm succession is about more than legal and tax implications according to Dr. Isaacs who is also director for the UK Tax Education Program. It is about the transfer of assets, management, leadership and, yes, debt in a cyclical process.

Isaacs stressed that the first priority in this cycle is assuring an adequate retirement income for the parents. The estate tax is a paper tiger for most people; “death taxes don’t destroy family farms… families do.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are only two categories of workers that are older than farmers – school crossing guards and Walmart greeters.

Isaacs recommended engaging a transition team familiar with farmland issues that could include an attorney, accountant, financial planner, lender, extension educator and/or business consultant. This team’s function is to identify and generate ideas, technical information, evaluation and suggestions.

Isaacs recommended conducting the transition discussion at a neutral location, not at the family kitchen table. He advised treating siblings fairly, not necessarily equally and include spouses in the discussion.

A facilitator and recorder will summarize and document the items on which the family has agreed.

With some guidance and a transition plan, Isaacs says the conversation by the entire family can become “Here’s how we’re going to take care of things.”

Steve will be conducting a full day session on this subject in the near future. Check our events page for that announcement.

Herb Loyd, KWOA founder, recognized at annual meeting

Dr. Herb Loyd, one of KWOA’s six founders, was recognized for his contributions to the association by Donald Girton at the2017 annual meeting.

Loyd was born and raised in rural West Virginia. His interest in forestry came by a circuitous route that started with military service in Germany and acquaintance with a German forester.

That experience prompted Herb to acquire forest property in Fleming County in the early 1980’s and begin active management. Herb has hosted numerous meetings and field days at his tree farm.

Herb’s involvement with KWOA has been extensive since serving on its organizing committee in 1994 and subsequently as treasurer, director, vice president as well as education and policy committee chair. He participated in developing the association’s articles of incorporation, by-laws, its initial strategy focus and its 2004 position statement.

Herb Loyd (right to left), one of KWOA’s founders, was recognized by another founder, Don Girton, with Frank Hicks, current president and Jack Rentz, previous president.
Photo by Billy Thomas, UK Forestry Extension

In his tribute to Herb Loyd, Girton, also a KWOA founder, commented that what he had learned to appreciate about Herb was his “passion for woodland resources, implementation of programs based on sound policy and problem-solving that leads to positive outcomes.”

Items to consider when purchasing woodland property

Chris Will, Consulting Forester, advised annual meeting attendees to consider three important items when considering the purchase of a woodland property:

the tax consequences of selling a woodlands property versus holding it as an investment

protect it with a survey

develop a forest management plan and keep the plan updated.

Woodland acquistition criteria panelists, (right to left) Chris Will, Kate Robie and Matt Springer discuss what to do and what to avoid when considering a property purchase; Doug McLaren moderating.
Photo by Billy Thomas, UK Forestry Extension

Will was part of a panel discussing Woodland Acquisition Criteria at the 2017 KWOA annual meeting.

UK Forestry Department Chair Red Baker accepts position at University of Florida; Jeff Stringer steps up as interim chair at UK

Dr. Red Baker has left the UK Department of Forestry to accept a position at the University of Florida.

Terrell “Red” Baker assumed the position of chair of the University of Kentucky Department of Forestry in 2010. Baker came to UK from New Mexico State University. His assessment of his new duties at that time were that “The bones of this department are very strong. There’s a group of very motivated faculty and staff who are 100 percent committed to making good things happen. I view it as part of my job to help them do that, to help them be successful.”

Red Baker’s farewell comments elicit a grin from in-coming interim chair Jeff Stringer

Dr. Baker was a regular at KWOA events and a valuable resource throughout his tenure at UK. His thoughts regarding his departure from UK:  “I am proud of what we accomplished together over the last 7 years. I am confident the department will continue to do great things and I look forward to hearing about its many successes to come in the future.”

Henry Duncan, Frank Hicks and Cliff Taylor attended farewell luncheon for KWOA

Red began his new position in his home state at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences as the new director of the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation on April 1.

Thanks to the educators and cooperators who made the KWOA 2017 a success

KWOA appreciates the time, travel and expertise of the many professionals who participated in its annual meeting at Natural Bridge State Park. Their expertise, availability for questions and dedication to their various roles in private woodlands management inspired and clarified the future for woodlands owners attending the annual meeting.

Brown Forman Corporation

H&S Lumber Mill

Kentucky Division of Forestry

Kentucky Forest Industries Association

Powell Valley Millwork

University of Kentucky Forestry Extension

University of Kentucky Department of Forestry

Christopher J. Will, ACF, Central Kentucky Forest Management, Inc.

Kate Robie, Retired Timberland Investment Professional

KWOF approves funding to support woodland education/practice initiatives in 2017

The Kentucky Woodland Owners Foundation has been a long-time financial supporter of the Woodland Owners Short Course, an annual UK Forestry Extension student scholarship and the Leopold Conservation Award. At its February quarterly board meeting, members approved financial assistance to three projects that will inform and enhance woodland and watershed management.

$650 for the 2017 Woodland Owners Short Course (WOSC) workshops

$400 for two $200 competitive scholarships to the Kentucky Forestry Leadership Program, a weeklong program at Jabez for students interested in natural resource management

$500 to the Salt River Watershed Project managed through the Kentucky Waterways Alliance

Governor signs Timber Theft Legislation SB38

Senate Bill 38 relating to timber theft passed both the Senate and the House with one amendment and was signed by the Governor.

The bill amends KRS 364.130 to specify that a person, regardless of state of mind or whether the person believes to be authorized or not, is liable for three times the stumpage value of the timber and three times the cost of any damages to property when he or she takes the timber of another without legal right or color of title.

The amendment exempts residential property owners and farmland owners maintaining their fence rows who mistakenly remove the timber of an adjoining property owner from the requirement to pay treble damages.

 

Ancient American Chestnut makes surprising appearance on Pelle tree farm

Thanks to Harry Pelle, KWOA board member, for sharing this story

While marking fifty acres for a timber stand improvement project on their property on April 23rd, Harry and Karen Pelle along with Chris Will, their consulting forester, found quite a welcome surprise. They discovered a couple of American Chestnut root sprouts. Harry admits there have been other aspiring chestnut seedlings over the thirty years the Pelle’s have been traversing their tree farm near Bradfordsville but they didn’t know what to look for.

The day before, Earth Day, they had helped plant 1200 American Chestnuts at Eastern Kentucky University’s Taylor Fork Ecological Area.

Earth Day 2016 - EKU faculty, staff, students and volunteers join The American Chestnut Foundation to plant 1200 American Chestnuts in Taylor Fork Ecological Area on Arbor Day
Earth Day 2016 – EKU faculty, staff, students and volunteers join The American Chestnut Foundation to plant 1200 American Chestnuts in Taylor Fork Ecological Area on Arbor Day

The effort with The American Chestnut Foundation seeks to restore the iconic tree as a staple in eastern forests.

April 22, 2016 – Karen and Harry Pelle volunteer with EKU American Chestnut planting
April 22, 2016 – Karen and Harry Pelle volunteer with EKU American Chestnut planting

 

That recent experience may have made the Pelle’s more aware of the chestnut’s latest effort to re-establish itself in the territory where it once reigned.

The Pelle’s marked the spot where they found the tree sprouts on Chris’s GPS and with a tee post.

April 23, 2016 – Newly discovered American Chestnut sprouts on Pelle tree farm
April 23, 2016 – Newly discovered American Chestnut sprouts on Pelle tree farm

The Pelle’s also cleared the area around the sprouts of fallen tops and brush. They intend to monitor the potential trees’ progress and just maybe these two will beat the Chestnut Blight that decimated the regions mighty giants. It may be the next generation of Pelles that will have to continue the watch over the seedlings.

The newest trees are in good company. Harry has an American Chestnut restoration grove just down the hill from the little guys. He likes to think the trees’ ancestors are looking down the hill and cheering on their new cousins in the fight to beat the blight. Harry thinks the finding of the sprouts “might have been the chestnuts’ way of saying ‘thanks for the help.’”