Category Archives: News

News about Kentucky Woodlands and their owners

EPA, USDA and DOE will encourage the use of biomass as an energy solution

In a letter to Congress EPA, USDA, and DOE will encourage the use of biomass as an energy solution.

Labeling wood burning as environmentally friendly is at odds with environmental groups and some scientists, who say that the process releases all of the carbon dioxide that the trees had previously removed from the atmosphere and may endanger forest biodiversity.

To read more….

Nature and humans, not forest management, blamed for California’s devastating wildfires

Despite President Donald Trump’s claims, fire scientists say nature provides the dangerous winds that have whipped the fires, and human-caused climate change over the long haul is killing and drying the shrubs and trees that provide the fuel.

Read more for why scientists know that management isn’t to blame according to Associated Press  science writer Seth Borenstein.

 

A CASE OF TIMBER THEFT IN KENTUCKY

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:

http://forestry.ky.gov/LandownerServices/Pages/TimberTheftandTrespass.aspx

And the UK Forestry Extension:  http://forestry.ca.uky.edu/trespass_theft

 

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.

Highlights from August 2018 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.

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, kwoa.net  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

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.

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

 

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.