Wednesday, July 17, 2019

What is the Impact of Suburban Sprawl?

I had a chance to see this first-hand a few weeks ago on my way out to Wyoming and back.  It was dramatic, the permanent loss of productive farmland was alarming to me.  The American Angus Association produced a documentary film on urban sprawl to demonstrate the impact of urbanization on rural America.  The film is called “Losing Ground.”  Check it out.  I provide the link to it on You Tube below.  

Morning Ag Clips
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Farmers and ranchers face a lot of challenges. Weather. Policy. Markets. One of the growing issues is the increasing urbanization taking over farm and ranch land across the U.S. To help spread awareness about this growing issue, the American Angus Association® produced the first film to expose the impact of urban sprawl on American Agriculture – “Losing Ground”—an I Am Angus® production.

The documentary features five Angus farm and ranch families who talk about the challenges and opportunities they have experienced with urban sprawl in their areas. The Lovin family, Lexington, Georgia; Marsh family, Huntley, Illinois; Stabler family, Brookeville, Maryland; Cropp family, Damascus, Maryland; and the Nelson family, Wilton, California, discuss how urban sprawl has impacted them, and American Farmland Trust CEO John Piotti talks about their research report “Farms Under Threat,” which shows the issue on a national level.

“It’s easy to drive through, especially the Midwest, and feel like we have plenty of land,” said Josh Comninellis, film director. “But, it’s a little more complicated than that as we dug into the research. Not only are we losing some of our best ground and a lot of total agricultural land, but the population, and therefore demand, is going up. When you pair those two things together, you see, down the road, a really dire situation emerging.”

According to the American Farmland Trust “Farms Under Threat” report, we’re losing 1.5 million acres a year, which breaks down to 175 acres every hour and three acres a minute. That trend is unsustainable, and a common ground needs to be reached between the population’s need for more housing and retail and agriculture’s need to produce food.

“There are a few documentaries out there talking about urban sprawl from an urban point of view, but there was nothing out there talking about the impact on farmland,” Comninellis said. “There is nothing talking about cities spreading and taking over farmland and the implication for our food supply. So, we decided to tackle the issue through the eyes of Angus producers, and we think ‘Losing Ground’ gives us the opportunity to help educate consumers while establishing connections with their rural counterparts.”

Education is the key to bridging the gap between farmers and ranchers and those who live in urban areas. The film strives to spread awareness for a rising issue for rural America and provide content for the agriculture community to share, as well.

For more information on “Losing Ground,” visit: . Share the film with friends and neighbors.

June 12, 2019

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

What Will My Woods Look Like: Before and After Timber Harvesting

This looks like a great resource!

What Will My Woods Look Like: Before and After Timber Harvesting publication is now available. The Maine Forest Service, along with the Maine State Implementation Committee of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, is pleased to announce a new publication (careful this is a large document, will take a bit of time to download) and web page, entitled “What Will My Woods Look Like: Before and After Timber Harvesting.”

Before a timber harvest, there are many things to think about, questions to answer, details to consider. One important outcome that woodland owners often have a hard time imagining is “What will my woods look like after the job is done?”

The website and the associated booklet (PDF | 29.8 MB) show some typical forest stands before and after different kinds of logging operations. The pictures are intended to help start a pre-harvest discussion about post-harvest results. The forest scenes also help tell the story of woodland stewardship, forest management, and the professionals who make it happen.

We plan to expand the project with additional picture sets. If you have a series of photos that show woodland stewardship activities over time, we would love to see them. Please look at the section of the web site called “How To Submit Pictures” for more details.

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Control Unwanted Trees Using Hack-and-Squirt Herbicide Applications

June 25, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Dense understories of undesirable shade-tolerant trees including red maple, American beech, blackgum, black birch, striped maple, and eastern hophornbeam interfere with the establishment and development of desirable regeneration such as oak, cherry, and poplar. Researchers have concluded that diversity declines as shade-tolerant tree species continue to expand. Recognizing and treating less-desirable trees increases the proportion of desirable species in future timber stands.

Removing or deadening undesirable trees is a forest man¬agement tool owners can employ to achieve their objectives. It allows the owner to favor species better suited to the site that meet desired conditions and objectives. The most effective method for deadening undesirable standing trees involves the use of herbicides.

Hack-and-squirt, also known as frill and spray, herbicide applications are one of the most target specific and economical means for controlling unwanted trees. Applications made to undesirable trees facilitates the regeneration or growth of desirable species. Hack-and-squirt applications are effective on various size stems and are applicable in hardwood stands where mechanical broadcast spray treatments are not feasible or desirable.

Hack-and-squirt applications introduce the herbicide into the stem using spaced cuts made at a convenient height around the trunk. Using a hatchet, downward-angled incisions are spaced evenly around the stem, one per inch of diameter (two cuts minimum).
Cuts are approximately 2 inches long and spaced 1 to 2 inches apart. The cuts must penetrate through the bark into the living tissue or sapwood and produce a cupping effect to hold
the herbicide. Each cut is filled with herbicide using a spray bottle.

Hack-and-squirt herbicide applications are effective at any time of the year, except during heavy spring sap flow. Applica¬tions made during periods of heavy sap flow are inef¬fective. In addition, do not treat when trees are solidly frozen. When hard freezes are forecasted to occur at night following application, add RV antifreeze (propylene glycol) to the spray solution according to label directions.
Applications to control root-suckering species such as beech, blackgum, and tree-of-heaven are most effective from July to the onset of fall coloration.

Hack-and-squirt applications are target-specific treatments generally used to control trees that are 1 inch in diameter and greater. They are most commonly used in hardwood forest timber stand improvement projects to deaden less desirable trees. These applications are often used to help establish desirable regeneration by removing low shade cast by dense understories of undesirable saplings and poles (trees 4-10 inches in diameter). Hack-and-squirt treatments control competition without impacting existing regeneration or desirable residual trees. Hack-and-squirt is also effective for releasing crop trees in hardwood stands. In addition, hack-and-squirt can be used to create standing dead trees, called snags, to provide desirable wildlife habitat.

Herbicides used for hack-and-squirt applications are water-soluble systemic materials, meaning they move vertically and horizontally within the tree. Numerous “general use” products have labels for hack-and-squirt applications, meaning forest landowners can purchase these products and apply them to their own properties without cer¬tification.

Traditional understory treatments have used mechanized (skidder-mounted) mist blowers. For a more selective application, consider hack-and-squirt treatments. They offer one of the saf¬est, most efficient, target-specific, and least expensive means of eliminating unwanted trees. The herbicides used are non-restricted and control a wide range of common spe¬cies. Hack-and-squirt provides a flexible tool landowners and managers can use to accomplish a variety of vegetation man¬agement objectives over a wide range of forest types.

For more detailed information view the new Forest Science Fact Sheet entitled Using Hack-and-Squirt Herbicide Applications to Control Unwanted Trees by visiting the Penn State Extension website at or call 814-355-4897.


EDITOR: For more information, contact Dave Jackson (814-355-4897,