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Agroforestry practices alive and well in north central Kansas

Agroforestry practices alive and well in north central Kansas
The Downard family in Washington County, Kansas has been awarded the Kansas Agroforestry Award. l.to r. Kyle Downard, son; Karen Haley, landowner; Kim Downard, landowner; Jim Downard, landowner; Larry Biles, Kansas State Forester; Luke Terry, Custom Forestry Applications; Thad Rhodes, district 5 forester. Not pictured: Ed Downard, landowner. (Photo courtesy of K-State Research and Extension)

BARNES, Kan. – A Kansas family who has stabilized miles of streambank on the Little Blue River by planting trees and implementing other conservation techniques was recognized during the Agroforestry Field Day June 8. Jim Downard, along with his siblings Karen Haley and Ed Downard, are this year’s recipients of the Kansas Agroforestry Award. The family has improved the quality and health of their woodlands by removing lower quality trees from their property, giving more valuable oak and walnut trees the opportunity to grow strong.

 “It was an honor to be recognized for all the time and hard work that has gone into the projects,” said award recipient Jim Downard. “It was also a pleasure having others come to the farm to see the results on the field day.”

Agroforestry is the integration of trees and shrubs into farming and ranching operations to maximize productivity and conservation benefits. Tree plantings known as riparian forest buffers are just one of many agroforestry practices available to Kansas landowners.

The 2017 Agroforestry Field Day was held on the Downard Family Farm in southeast Washington County last month. The annual Agroforestry Field Day provides landowners, farmers, ranchers, and natural resource professionals the opportunity to learn science-based information regarding design, function, management, and benefits of trees and shrubs within contemporary agricultural systems for a variety of purposes.

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