Equine Forestry: Promotion of a Low-Impact Forest Harvesting Method

Project Overview

FNC06-605
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2006: $6,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Tim Carroll
Cedar River Horse Logging

Commodities

  • Agronomic: corn, oats, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Nuts: walnuts

Practices

  • Animal Production: feed/forage
  • Crop Production: agroforestry, forestry
  • Education and Training: demonstration
  • Farm Business Management: value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, habitat enhancement, wildlife
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships, employment opportunities, sustainability measures

    Summary:

    PROJECT BACKGROUND
    Cedar River Horse Logging and Wood Products has been in business for 16 years using draft horses for sustainable forest management. This project was started to educate the public about equine forestry and to bring young people into the profession. Horse Logging is a low-impact tree harvesting method that promotes sustainability, decreases soil erosion and compaction, and promotes healthy growth of remaining trees. The generation with horse logging skills is dying, but the demand for this service is growing, so there is an immediate need to recruit and train new horse loggers. There is a significant lack of public awareness inhibiting the recruitment of potential loggers for training.
    Tim Carroll of Cedar River Horse Logging & Wood Products, in cooperation with Twin Cities Public Television’s Minnesota Channel, requested funding for a television series that will address the environmental benefits of equine forestry while allowing viewers a glimpse into sustainable forest management, ideas for forest recreation, and woodworking projects. The production and airing of this one-half hour professional documentary will also educate land owners in rural America on the value of equine forestry, promote the service and occupation, explain in visual terms the act of horse logging in a modern horse logging camp and will serve as a means to attract funders and educational partners. The mission of Cedar River Horse Logging is to preserve a dying art and to preserve the ecology of our forests. This project provides a tool that will be an effective first step to educating land owners on forest stewardship and using sustainable practices. “The core of my whole business is about sustainable practices.” Tim Carroll.

    PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND RESULTS
    Using draft horses for forest management has been increasing in demand to the point were we need to bring young people into this career. The goal of Cedar River Horse Logging is to preserve a dying art and preserve the ecology of our forests. This project will provide a tool that will be an effective first step to educating land owners on forest stewardship and using sustainable practices.

    PROCESS
    Demand is very high for horse logging and getting people to understand that they have alternatives to managing their land. PBS seemed to be the best opportunity to educate the public on the use of draft horses for forest management.

    PEOPLE
    * Twin Cities Public TV
    * Iatp – Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
    * Videyo Arts
    * Minnesota Forestry Association

    RESULTS
    The film was aired for the first time on January 12, 2008 and I have had a lot of calls from people who want their land worked with horses. I have done a lot of seminars and demos and found people really want this service.

    DISCUSSION
    One of my goals is to get a weekly show on equine forestry. This grant has given me an opportunity to understand the PBS system and how it works. My role as a businessman is changing from a producer to a manager and teacher. My hope is that I can bring more young people into the field. The cost of the project was higher than I thought and the grant gave me the ability to complete the project. I believe demand is there for equine forestry but we need more people trained in this field. I think that educating the public about equine forestry is the key to its long term success.

    PROJECT IMPACTS
    I do not have hard economic impacts but it has been 10 days since the first airing of this program and I have received 32 requests to work with people and with draft horses and I have three apprentices working with me now and two more that have enquired.

    OUTREACH
    This show was advertised on PBS, newspapers, demos, seminars, and email trees. We put on three demos in 2007 and averaged 20 to 40 people. One seminar had 256 people. There were several newspaper articles and the show aired on tpt channel 17. Tpt reaches over a million people throughout Minnesota. Enclosed is a dvd of the show.

    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.