Republic County’s Pierce to be honored for forest resource efforts

MANHATTAN – A pair of Kansans will be recognized during this year’s Fall Forestry Field Day for their efforts to sustain the state’s forestry resources. 

Steve Haas of Riley County, and Locke Pierce of Republic County will be recognized formally at the 26th annual event on Oct. 13.  

Haas will receive the Kansas Agroforestry Award, which recognizes landowners that have done an exceptional job of managing and implementing such agroforestry practices as windbreaks and riparian forest buffers.  

“Steve has demonstrated leadership in promoting agroforestry through his establishment of a four-acre riparian forest buffer planting,” said Thad Rhodes, north central Kansas district forester with the Kansas Forest Service who nominated Haas. “Riparian forest buffers can help stabilize streambanks, limit damage during flooding and filter run-off from crop fields. Steve also established a windbreak to protect his farmstead from winter winds, and three acres of native grass for wildlife benefits.”  

Pierce, owner of Woodland Ranch, will be recognized as the Forest Stewardship Tree Farmer of the Year, which recognizes Kansas landowners who are sustainably managing their woodlands and related natural resources. 

Their land must be certified in the American Tree Farm System and meet that organization’s standards of sustainability. Other requirements include owning at least 10 acres of woodlands and having a forest stewardship management plan for the property.  

The land has been in the family of Locke’s wife, Lynn, for generations. Highlights of their accomplishments include completing 50 acres of forest stand improvement, a two-acre tree planting and a hedge-post harvest as part of preparing the tree planting site. 

“The Pierces are advocates of the importance of actively managing woodlands, and in addition to their membership in the American Tree Farm System, they are active participants in the Walnut Council and the Kansas Forestry Association,” Rhodes said. 

The awards will be presented during the annual field day Oct. 13 at Ted Cambern’s tree farm south of Erie, Kan. The Cambern family was named winners of the Forest Stewardship Tree Farmer of the Year in 2018 and their Tree Farm has been certified for more than 32 years. 

The field day will feature a presentation by K-State associate professor and nationally recognized pecan expert Bill Reid, who will discuss pecan plantation management. Other sessions will cover forest stand improvement practices, wildlife projects and a sawmill demonstration. 

There is a $12 dollar registration fee to cover lunch. Registration is available online at fallfielday21.eventbrite.com or by calling the Kansas Forest Service at 785-532-3300.