KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – Woodland landowners from around the state are invited to attend the 34th annual Missouri Tree Farm Conference May 31 – June 1 at the Days Inn, 3805 S. Baltimore St., in Kirksville. The conference is part of the Missouri Tree Farm Program, which provides help to landowners on woodland management for wildlife and timber production. The Program also helps connect participating landowners to others with similar interests.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is cohosting the conference.
“Caring for Missouri’s woods begins with the thousands of Missouri landowners who own them,” said MDC Forestry Field Program Supervisor Brian Schweiss. “We work with many of these landowners to help them sustain healthy forests, fish and wildlife. Whether you have five acres or 1,000, this conference is a great way to get advice on how to care for woods and wildlife.”
Schweiss added that the conference is also an excellent way for landowners to meet others from Missouri with similar interests in caring for their woods for better hunting, beauty and income potential. “In fact, most tree farmers own their woods primarily for recreation, with income as a side benefit,” Schweiss said.
This year’s conference will offer a diverse set of subjects. Friday will focus on workshops about shiitake mushroom and elderberry production for the hobbyist or serious producer.
Saturday morning will include a field trip to 2012 Tree Farmer of the Year Ed Keyser’s farm. Keyser’s 89-acres of woods have been managed for both recreation and revenue. Keyser will provide a history of the tree farm management he uses, including thinning, sales and challenges. There will be discussions on wildlife management and food plots, invasive species control of autumn olive and other invasive vegetation, and deer diseases.
Saturday afternoon will focus on a variety of topics including log identification, log value and benefits, and introduction presentations on mushrooms and elderberry production. A tour of Truman Farm will include visiting a vineyard with a discussion on white oak and the Missouri wine connection, orchard management, and the Truman State University vegetable garden.
Purchased in 1969, Keyser’s land provides him and his family excellent deer and turkey hunting opportunities, which have been enhanced through forest thinning practices to improve food and cover. Trees from the property provide wood heat for his home and logs used for shiitake mushroom production.
After 33 years of ownership, Keyser decided it was time for a timber sale. “I recognized faster growth on my oaks, which resulted from thinning practices,” he said. “In 2002, I conducted my first hardwood timber sale.”
Keyser’s most recent challenge has been the invasion of autumn olive. He has spent several years cutting and treating this unwanted invasive shrub and believes he is at a point where he can annually inspect his woods and treat new invasions.