Dr. Lanny Copeland is a Family Physician who practiced in rural settings in Indiana and Georgia for 20 years. He was instrumental in beginning a family medicine residency program focusing on rural healthcare, especially the underserved area of southwest Georgia. For many years he was recognized as one of the top 50 Most Influential Physician Executives in the US by Modern Healthcare, ranking #8 on this list in 2012.
Copeland’s humanitarian work has taken him to Yemen, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Haiti, and most recently to Cuba, where the foci has been on medical education and health care delivery.
After retiring from the corporate world, he and his wife Mica actively manage their 280 acres of timberland in Warren County, Kentucky.
Warren Beeler, Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy, informed members that poultry is the number two industry after forestry in Kentucky. Consequently, GOAP is prioritizing loans to farmers ages 19-26 who want to get into the poultry business.
Beeler said he is also looking to invest beyond the traditional crops and utilizes the Kentucky Agricultural Finance Corporation that supports higher risk loans. Its mission is to strengthen Kentucky agriculture by providing access to low-interest loan programs through joint partnerships with local lending institutions. KAFC assists beginning farmers, farm families, and agribusinesses obtain the necessary capital to establish, maintain or expand their agricultural operation.
As agriculture becomes more technologically sophisticated the program seeks to support investments in equipment such as robotic dairy milkers and computer tags for dairy cows. The programs also supports water quality monitoring on the Ohio, Kentucky and Wabash Rivers for nutrients, a mentoring program for queen beekeepers and sheep and goat operations that could be compatible with woodlands.
Beeler stressed that the GOAP Board is interested in capital projects, not in paying people not to farm. Its assistance is seed money with the expectation that the enterprise will use those funds to become self-maintaining. He mentioned
Members were not shy in responding. Suggestions included incubator tree farms (Beeler thought demonstration farms would qualify), easements that would remove development rights to keep properties in woodlands, and cooperation with related agriculture industries. Beeler opined that KWOA needs a state-level executive position.
For Michael Branscum, the best part about being a forestry student is marking timber and the Fire Cats. For Dan Eaton it is the small class size and the friendships among students and with professors. Sarah Hays’ experience with a forest inventory in Robinson Forest made a believer out of her that switched from an engineering major to forestry. The three students attended sessions and spoke at the KWOA 2019 annual meeting as part of their education the University of Kentucky’s Forestry Extension.
All three students have a good idea of what they want to do post-grad. Branscum hopes to work in urban forestry or in timber purchase and sales. Eaton wants to pursue an MBA and then work to increase the economic value of forests and incentives to keep property in forests. Hays is working with the Extension team to develop the newly formed Forest Health Center.
“We have to teach the next generation how to work.” Kentucky Senator Robby Mills advised attendees at KWOA’s 2019 annual meeting with the additional comment that government should be about resolving problems and filling gaps.
Senator Mills, who is Vice Chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee, launched into the meeting’s theme of Clean Water and Forest Management by noting the lack of investment in water and waste water infrastructure. He said Martin County loses 64% of its treated water between the water treatment plant and homes because of leaks.
Mills recognized the role of trees as natural barriers to sediment and water run-off as well as water purifiers. He highlighted the Audubon Wetlands in Henderson County.
Jim Bryan, Kentucky Division of Forestry, provided some background on Pennyrile State Forest. The state owns and manages ten forests. The state bought these forests between 1932 and 1939, resettling the people who lived there. Pennyrile Park opened in 1937.
In 1930, as part of the Land Use and Resettlement Program, the Division of Forestry acquired leases on land in Christian, Hopkins and Caldwell counties, which became the Pennyrile State Forest. It now includes 14,648 acres of forest. These leases were sustained until 1954, when the property was deeded (with certain reservations) by the U.S. government to the Commonwealth.
An invasion by pine beetles prompted clear-cutting of conifers in the 1970’s and conversion to hardwoods. However, Virginia pines soon re-established in the forest. A program of helicopter spraying and “hack and squirt” successfully removed the pines. Money from timber harvests goes to KDF.