September 22, 2015
Forest Stewardship Tree Farmer of the Year Award Announced
The Forest Stewardship and Kansas Tree Farm Program work hand-in-hand to encourage Kansas farmers and ranchers to value and manage the woodland and related natural resources on their properties. The Forest Stewardship Program is a US Forest Service Program delivered through the Kansas Forest Service at Kansas State University, while the Kansas Tree Farm Program is a private, not-for-profit organization subsidized through the American Tree Farm System.
Both programs provide professional forestry expertise, planning, and certification to help Kansas farmers manage their woodlands using professional Kansas Forest Service foresters at Kansas State University. Healthy, productive woodlands will increase the overall value of a farming operation, and provide both private and public benefits.
Each year the Forest Stewardship and Kansas Tree Farm Program collectively recognize a Kansas farmer who has done an exceptional job managing their woodlands. This year Cal Ammons was selected to receive the Forest Stewardship Tree Farmer of the Year award.
On his Butler County Tree Farm, not far from Towanda, Kansas, Ammons has demonstrated his love for the land in a variety of ways. He has improved the health of his woodlands through “thinning” operations, removing lower quality, invasive species to encourage more valuable walnut and oak. He has planted thousands of trees for a variety of purposes including a pecan plantation for nut production.
Cal understands the important function trees provide to stabilize streambanks and improve water quality. In the last three years, he has established four streambank stabilization projects with forest buffers. As a science teacher, Cal has repeatedly used his Tree Farm to lead environmental education sessions and projects to teach young adults the value of forest stewardship.
“My wife and I are honored to receive this award and recognition,” says Ammons, award winner. “We have worked this property most of our adult lives. We have continually strived to improve and protect this wonderful resource that we have been blessed with. The stewardship required to preserve and improve a piece of property is a never-ending task. We have pretty much made it our life’s work. Now, we get to share this place with folks that want to marry in the beautiful outdoors, and with inner-city kids from Wichita that come out and do summer school at the farm. Those opportunities to share our farm with others has been one of the most fulfilling things in our lives.”
As winner of the 2015 award, Ammons will receive a $100 cash award from the Kansas Forestry Association, an award sign, and commemorative plaque which will be presented at the Fall Forestry Field Day scheduled for Saturday, October 17, at Paul Dean’s Tree Farm in Madison.