Rural Forestry Program Services
A variety of services are offered to Kansas landowners through six district foresters located in Valley Falls, Paola, Manhattan, Hutchinson, Garden City and Hays. These foresters cover large multi-county districts (12 to 26 counties) providing direct assistance to over 300 landowners each year. For this reason foresters must prioritize requests. Sometimes it may take several weeks to honor requests but most landowners find the services provided worth the wait. Landowners interested in participating in the Rural Forestry Program are encouraged to contact the forester in whose district their land is located. District Forester boundary maps and contact information may be obtained by clicking on the Forestry Assistance for Landowners icon.
Reconnaissance and Inventory
Foresters provide “on-site” visits to collect information and provide recommendations on forest and windbreak management, forest and windbreak health, and tree planting. Landowners should be willing to provide legal descriptions of their property including section, township and range, maps of their property and land management goals and objectives.
Forest Stewardship Plans
Following reconnaissance, foresters can provide recommendations in the form of a Forest Stewardship Management plan. Forest Stewardship plans are long-term, comprehensive plans that consider all natural resources and guide the implementation of practice or project plans. Based on the management objectives of the landowner, plans offer suggestions about tree planting, timber stand improvement, timber harvest, protection of forest resources, windbreak establishment or renovation and other important conservation practices.
Forestry Practice Project Plans
Practice plans provide detailed information on how to implement recommendations in the Forest Stewardship Plan for specific forestry practices such as tree planting, timber stand improvement or timber harvest. However, they can be provided as “stand alone” plans without a Forest Stewardship Management Plan. Proper management, care, and establishment of woodlands and windbreaks can be costly. However, because forests and windbreaks provide public conservation and economic benefits, there are a variety of government programs that provide financial assistance. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for Forestland Health provides thousands of dollars each year to Kansas landowners and covers up to 75% of project costs for planting trees, managing forestland and renovating or establishing windbreaks. The program is administered by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and program details are included in the pdf file at the bottom of this page. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) administered by the Farm Services Agency (FSA) provides land rental payments through 10 to 15 year contracts and covers up to 50% of project implementation costs for cropland planted to windbreaks, riparian forest buffers or forests. Foresters can help direct landowners to the financial assistance program that best suits their needs and objectives. Programs are dynamic and fluctuate in available funding, cost-share rates and eligibility.
Insect, Disease & Forest Health
Foresters are available to provide diagnosis and control recommendations for insect, disease and forest health problems in woodlands, conservation tree plantings and windbreaks. The large geographic areas and number of clientele foresters provide services for make it impossible to offer on-site diagnostic or control recommendations for yard trees within Kansas cities and towns. Such requests should be directed to local County Extension Offices. Additional information about insect and disease diagnosis may be found on the Forest Health section of our web site.
Foresters provide educational workshops to promote proper forest management, tree planting, windbreak renovation and forest health. The Agroforestry Field Day, the Walnut Council Field Day and the Fall Forestry Field Day are annual educational events that are well attended by private landowners and natural resource professionals.
The Kansas Forest Service offers a host of publications on forest management, tree planting, how to sell timber, windbreak management and establishment and forest health, as well as a quarterly newsletter (Kansas Canopy) that are available at the Publications section of our web site.
Foresters assist landowners who wish to sell their timber in a variety of ways. This may include an on-site visit and professional recommendations. Foresters may provide timber sale contracts, bid solicitation forms and a list of timber buyers (all available on the Publications section of our web site). Foresters do not represent landowners during the negotiation and execution of timber sale contracts, mark trees for harvest or provide volume estimations.
Forest Stand Improvement, Windbreak Renovation and Tree Planting
Foresters are available to mark trees in woodlands, forests and windbreaks for removal and the best quality trees to keep and prune using colored ribbon or spray paint. To a limited extent foresters can also help landowners implement tree plantings. Most importantly foresters can connect landowners with forestry contractors who can plant and maintain trees, renovate windbreaks, and perform thinning operations in woodlands and forests.
Services Not Provided
Kansas Forest Service does not appraise timber damaged by herbicide or fire. Forests will not become involved with civil court cases associated with tree damage appraisal, right-of-way clearance, land condemnation, or timber trespass. Landowners with such requests are referred to consulting foresters whose contact information is located in the pdf below. Consulting foresters are also available to provide more "in-depth" service for timber sales and tax recommendations.
- Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for Forestland Health - USDA NRCS
- Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) - USDA NRCS