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K-State Today

May 6, 2016

Kansas Forest Service to host Agroforestry Field Day in Ness County

Submitted by Jennifer G. Williams

Agroforestry Field Day at the Sekavec's

Agroforestry is the integration of trees and shrubs into farming and ranching operations to maximize conservation benefits, while simultaneously providing economic benefits for the overall operation. Windbreaks and riparian buffers are the most common agroforestry practices in Kansas. Other examples include silvopasture, the deliberate integration of trees and grazing livestock operations on the same land, and alley cropping, where crops are grown in the alleyways between widely spaced rows of woody plants.

Kansans will have the opportunity to experience agroforestry firsthand at the 2016 Agroforestry Field Day on Thursday, May 12. The field day will be at at 9 a.m. at Marvin and Twylia Sekavec's 400-acre farm in Brownell, just east of Ness City.

The event will offer hands-on educational opportunities by natural resource professionals with wildlife, forestry and range expertise. It also is an opportunity for farmers, ranchers and landowners to share their conservation projects and successes.

The Sekavecs will kick off the field day by providing an overview of their property and conservation story. Sessions on landscaping the farmstead, attracting songbirds, tree planting, renovating old windbreaks, treating tree pest problems and controlling woody invasives are just a few of the topics that will be covered.

The Sekavecs have planted more than 10,000 trees and shrubs, representing more than 30 species, over the last 20 years. The plantings have been designed as part of a holistic natural resource management system. They include windbreaks, wildlife habitat and riparian buffers of bald cypress that improve water quality, reduce wind erosion and provide energy savings.

Grassed terraces, waterways and multiple cover cropping systems all contribute to this model conservation landscape. Special shrub and vine plantings around their home attract a variety of songbirds and butterflies.

The Sekavec's address is 25656 160 Road, Brownell. From Ness City, it's 7.25 miles east on Route 96, 3 miles north on County Road Z, then west 0.25 mile on County Road 160.

Participants may register by mailing a check for $7 made out to the Ness County Conservation District, 18635 140 Road, Ness City, KS 67560-6196, or by calling 785-798-3614. Lunch and refreshments are provided with the registration fee.

Additional information, as well as a brochure about the festival, may be found on the Kansas Forest Service website under "News & Events."

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