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K-State Research and Extension News

Butler County tree farmer receives forest stewardship award

Cal Ammons named the Forest Stewardship Tree Farmer of the Year

Cal AmmonsSeptember 22, 2015

Photo and caption available

TOWANDA, Kan. – The Forest Stewardship and Kansas Tree Farm programs 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 U.S. 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 that is subsidized through the American Tree Farm System.

Both programs provide professional forestry expertise, planning and certification to help Kansas farmers manage their woodlands using expertise from professional Kansas Forest Service foresters. 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 programs collectively recognize a Kansas farmer who has done an exceptional job managing his or her 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 variety of ways. He has improved the health of his woodlands through thinning operations, which have removed lower quality, invasive species to encourage the growth of more valuable walnut and oak trees. He has planted thousands of trees for a variety of purposes, including a pecan plantation for nut production.

Ammons understands the important function trees provide to stabilize stream banks and improve water quality. In the last three years, he has established four stream bank stabilization projects with forest buffers. As a science teacher, he 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,” Ammons said. “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 made it our life’s work.”

Ammons added that now he and his wife get to share their farm with other people, including those who want to marry in the beautiful outdoors, and with children from Wichita who participate in summer school at the farm. Those opportunities to share the farm with others have been fulfilling.

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 on Saturday, Oct. 17, at Paul Dean’s tree farm in Madison.


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by:
Bob Atchison, rural forestry coordinator, Kansas Forest Service
785-532-3310 or atchison@ksu.edu

For more information, contact:
Jennifer Williams, communications coordinator, Kansas Forest Service
785-532-3308 or jgwilliams@ksu.edu