Professional Training for Sustainable Agroforestry in Kansas

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2011: $50,946.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: North Central
State: Kansas
Project Coordinator:
Nicole Ricci
Kansas Forest Service
Dr. Megan Kennelly
Kansas State University

Annual Reports


  • Nuts: pecans, walnuts
  • Additional Plants: ornamentals


  • Crop Production: windbreaks
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, workshop
  • Natural Resources/Environment: riparian buffers
  • Pest Management: chemical control, cultural control, disease vectors, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management, physical control, prevention, weed ecology
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    In Kansas trees are critical as windbreaks and riparian buffers which reduce wind erosion, reduce livestock stress, and provide other economic and ecological services. Along with these conservation plantings Kansas has a forest products industry that provides $1.3 billion to the Kansas economy. Unfortunately our critical agroforestry resources are at risk from several exotic and endemic insect, disease, and weed (invasive plant) problems. Pine wilt and other problems threaten our pine windbreaks, black walnuts are at risk from thousand cankers disease, and emerald ash borer threatens ash resources in many areas. Invasive species such as bush honeysuckle, Russian olive, and tamarisk are additional problems. Kansas farmers and ranchers frequently have questions related to tree health in windbreaks, riparian buffers, and other agroforestry sites. However, most of our county extension educators have backgrounds in animal science, field crop production, or agricultural economics and need further training in tree health, including basic tree identification, tree physiology, and diseases, arthropods, and invasive plants which threaten agroforestry resources. The goal of this SARE professional development project is to provide training for short-term learning that will be the foundation of middle and long-term (ie, career-long) interest and expertise in agroforestry for county agriculture agents.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project will raise the level of expertise of our county educators through a series of training sessions and development of an agroforestry/tree health manual available in print and online. The events will be designed with a goal of “train the trainer” meaning the participants will gain knowledge, skills, abilities, and aspirations to hold their own trainings in their communities.
    We will hold day-long educational events with county educators in 5 locations around the state (northeast, northwest, central, southeast, southwest) to provide information about tree identification, physiology/stress, endemic pest threats, invasive plants (tamarisk, honeysuckle, Russian olive) and pests and diseases (Emerald ash borer, thousand cankers disease, and pine wilt). The classes will involve hands-on learning (indoor and outdoor) for tree id, pest id, and disease id. We will conduct pre- and post-tests to assess whether the short-term learner outcomes are achieved. An online set of recorded lectures (webinars) will also be developed to serve as a review or to serve those who cannot attend the hands-on trainings.

    We will develop a manual of Kansas tree health issues that includes tree identification, diseases, insects, and abiotic problems to sharpen their diagnostic skills. The manual will also serve as a kit to help participants design their own training sessions.

    Project outcomes:
    • Short term: Raise the level of tree health expertise of county agriculture educators.
    • Intermediate outcomes: County educators will have confidence and motivation to develop and deliver programming in their own communities, supporting long-term sustainable agroforestry.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.