Wisconsin Tree Farm Committee

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The Wisconsin Tree Farm Committee is proud to invite you to attend the 2015 Field Day.  This annual event will be held on Saturday, August 15, 2015 and hosted by Gerald and Charlotte Kann, winners of the 2014 Wisconsin Tree Farmer of the Year Award.  Their property has been in Kann ownership since 1973.  It is located three miles southeast of Cataract, Wisconsin, and conveniently reached by Interstate, State and County Highways.

This 114 acres of awesome pine and hardwood has been enrolled in the Wisconsin Managed Forest Law Program since 2000.  The terrain consists of majestic bluffs and sandy plains.  It is a spectacular representation of the unique driftless area of Southwest Wisconsin; the only area in the world which has been completely surrounded by glacier but never glaciated.

The Kann Tree Farm is not the largest nor the most productive forest ever visited.  But it is an amazing demonstration of what can be accomplished by following a plan, receiving advice from experts, working hard and never quitting.  Gerald first year of planting trees was in 1974. He did one project and kept on going!  Technical expertise was supplied by DNR foresters, Mike Lanquist, Jack Halbrehder, Paul Heimstad and Kevin Schilling along with assistance from forestry consultant Julian Hutchinson.  Lisa Hodge-Richardson authored the MFL Plan.

When asked for a summary of completed natural resources projects, Gerald presents a long list which duplicate many traditional Wisconsin DNR programs!  Included are forest tree under-plantings, open field tree planting, timber stand improvement, commercial harvesting of selected hardwoods, thinning of pine stands, wind damage salvage harvests, tree pruning, establishment of forest trails, "choose and cut" Christmas Trees, family Christmas tree outings, pond development, creating a wildlife food plot, planting wildlife shrubs and implementing erosion control structures.

 Most of these accomplishments can be viewed during the field day.  The event starts at the Cataract Sportsman's Club with opening remarks and a silent auction.  Buses will then transport attendees to the Kann Tree Farm site for guided tours.  At noon, buses return participants to the Cataract Sportsman's Club for a catered lunch in an air conditioned dining room free from ticks, mosquitoes and deer flies!

An exciting program concludes the day by 3 PM.  The registration deadline is August 7th.

Gerald and Charlotte have worked as a humble team for many years.  Gerald, known to his friends as "Jug", does the hands on work while Charlotte provides encouragement, enthusiasm and when the occasion permits, mouthwatering treats. (Back in the "choose and cut" days, hot apple cider was served to customers in a log cabin!)

While Charlotte grew up in the family's Markos business atmosphere of downtown La Crosse, Wisconsin, Gerald lays his roots to his Mom who inspired him, from the age of eight, to enjoy all the way of nature, birds bugs animals and trees.  He was born to be "a man of the soil" and always felt most at home in the spring when planting time arrived. His father, Kenneth, supported and encouraged his endeavors.

From a child content with tracking deer and catching potato bugs, Jug matured into a quiet, intellectual, gentle man, sometimes obsessed with reaching goals, but always trying to be the best he could be.  It was natural for him to desire land of his own, where he could plant and harvest.  Finally he had the opportunity and made the most of it.  His destiny of planting fields and improving forests has been reached and recognized.

As an outgrowth of tree planting on his own land, Jug and his partner, Wayne Vaaler, purchased a mechanical tree planter.  With Wayne driving an old Allis-Chalmers tractor and Jug riding the planter, they launched a good will business to encourage and assist conservation tree planting over much of western Wisconsin.  During the a 17 year period, by Jug's estimate, they accomplished the planting of over 300,000 trees.

Early in life, Jug served in Sparta as a member of Jaycees, Kiwanis, Water Commission, Hospital Board and Building Commission.  To this day he is still an active Rotarian, he continues to shoulder his civic responsibility.  Rotary picnic events visit the the property annually where Christmas trees have been produced for 25 years.  Kann's Christmas Tree Farm was included in a field trip for a 1994 National Christmas Tree Association meeting.

Two sons, Karl and Kurt, in their early years, helped plant and shear trees.  They verify successful parental guidance and are deeply entrenched in their father's dedication to all of nature, much of which has been reflected in their father's dedication to all of nature.  His dedication to nature is also reflected in his writings, published in the Minnesota better Forests which dwells on the transition of Christmas tree plantations into the production of other forest products and 'what it feels like to be a seedling'.  After the gut wrenching destruction of many trees by the fierce storm in June of 1998, he penned Wind, the touching saga of the demise of two of his old huge white pines.  Copies of the rendition will be available at the field day.

In summary of describing the Kann Tree Farm, no better explanation of its existence can be cited than as said in Jug's favorite poem, written by John Greenleaf Whittier: "Give fools their gold and knaves their power; let fortune's bubbles rise and fall; who sows a field, or trains a flower or plants a tree is more that all".

Gerald and Charlotte Kann welcome all to enjoy their land and this event.

Registration for the 2015 Tree Farm Field Day can be made by contacting:  U.W. Extension, 14345 County Highway B, Room 1, Sparta, WI 54656, or telephone #608-269-8722.

A $10.00 fee for one person (lunch included) and $5.00 for others will be charged. 

Questions may be directed to Randy Mell, U.W. Extension, 608-386-8900 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .



Saturday, 11 April 2015 11:08

Christmas at Wisconsin Capital

Dennis and Kim Schonenck have planted balsam fir on their Tree Farm for Christmas Trees, often donating them to Churches or those who could least afford them.  One tree was planted kin their yard along the driveway.  Through the years it reached 40+ feet tall and was mature.

Dennis had long dreamed of the opportunity to  have a Christmas Tree at the State Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison. He applied for consideration several years ago and in the spring of 2014 he received a call from the  Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) letting him know they would like to come up and look at their tree.  Late in September of 2014, the Schoenecks received another call from the DOA informing them that their Tree was selected to bed placed in the rotunda of the Capitol for Christmas for 2014.

The Tree was adorned with lights and handmade ornaments depicting the theme, "Honoring Wisconsin's Veterans".  In an interview, Dennis said, "We are grateful for the opportunity to provide these Trees as a small  token of appreciation for the brave men and women, past  and present, who have sacrificed so much for our Country".

The Schoenecks as donated 14 other smaller balsam tree which were used to decorate the Capital Square and the exterior of the Governor's mansion.


Gerald Kann's Tree Farm is 115 acres located north of Sparta in Monroe County.  He purchased the first 80 acres in 1973 and in 1984 purchased an adjoining 40ty.  At the time, he owned a funeral home in Sparta, Kann Funeral Home, and was a co-owner of a custom tree planting buisness.  He and his business partner planted over 300,000 tree seedlings and shrubs on private lands in Monroe and La Crosse Counties, including his own property.  These tree plantings were primarily for establishing trees the USDA's Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).  Gerald would share his experience and tree planting knowledge with these landowners, encouraging them to use a root gel/dip to keep roots from drying out in the planting process to increase survival rates.

Shortly after he purchased his property he started working with the Federl Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) local office and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resrouces (WI DNR)local forestry office, to gain knowledge. information and resources to start managing the property.   Originally the western part of the property, along Highway "B", was farm land.  East of the field was steeper terrain and was wooded.  Now, all of the property is wooded except for a cabin site, a food plot and a small wildlife pond.  The Tree Farm was entered into the Wisconsin Managed Forest Law program in 2000.


Wisconsin Tree Farm Committee 2014 Annual Field Day, August 23, 2014

WASHINGTON—The American Tree Farm System® (ATFS), a program of the American Forest Foundation, has named Joe Arington of Wisconsin the 2013 National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year, an annual sustainable forestry honor sponsored by STIHL, Inc.

Read More Here: www.treefarmsystem.org/joe-arington-2013-national-outstanding-tree-farmer

Wednesday, 17 July 2013 19:24

Latest News On the Farm Bill

The House of Representatives Passes Farm Bill which includes Forestry Provisions. The bill includes a number of provisions for forests, including new market opportunities for forest products, more conservation tools to forest owners, strengthened programs to fight invasive forest pests, and protection for woodland owners from unnecessary permit requirements and regulations on forest roads.

Find out more: http://www.treefarmsystem.org/forests-in-the-farm-bill-

The Wisconsin Tree Farm Committee 2013 Annual Tree Farm Field Day will be held at the Dennis and Kim Schoeneck Tree Farm in Oneida County on August 17, 2013.  The application and directions are attached.

Dennis and Kim's Tree Farm in Oneida County is 225 acres in size and consists of pine, swamp conifers, northern hardwoods and an aspen-birch component.  There are also a few acres of non-productive swamp and grasses.  Consulting Forester, David Czysz, is the nominating forester.

Jim and Ann’s are hosting the Wisconsin Tree Farm Committee's annual Tree Farm Field day on their farm located in northeastern Dunn and southwestern Barron on Saturday, June 2nd. Counties. Their current 425 acres consist of 190 acres of pine and other conifers. Northern hardwoods make up 127 acres along with 73 acres of red maple with an oak component.