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Chester County Ag Council

Dr. Kevin Hicks: A Friend to the Forest

A feature from the 2024 Farm Prodcuts Guide.

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Throughout his long career at the US Department of Agriculture, Dr. Kevin Hicks spent many hours in the lab working on biofuels and later developing product solutions for the dairy industry. Now retired, Hicks channels that same drive, scientific acumen, and dedication to the care of trees — specifically the roughly 200 hundred wooded acres at Lundale Farm outside of Pottstown, Pa.

"I was solving problems in the lab, and now I'm solving problems on a farm," laughs Hicks.

The Chester County Commissioners and Ag Council gave Hicks of Malvern, Pa., the Duncan Allison Award for Distinguished Service to Agriculture for his volunteer work promoting sustainable forestry practices and invasive species removal, and for serving as a guide for others who own or manage large tracts of land.

Kevin HicksHicks and his wife Pam, a fellow board member at Lundale, work hand-in-hand with Lundale's leadership and tenant farmers to make sure actions taken on behalf of the forest are a good fit for the nonprofit's organic, regenerative farming focus. The organization is home to a community of small farms raising livestock for meat and eggs as well as fresh produce. This has meant Hicks has needed to explore organic options and extensive hand labor to control invasive plant species instead of using more effective but chemically intensive means.

Hicks contends that the biggest question a landowner faces is what happens if they choose to do nothing to manage their woodlands.

"A hundred or even 50 years ago, nature would have taken its course," says Hicks. "Chester County is now at the edge of the storm front, dealing with a huge amount and number of invasive species coming in on shipping materials from our nearby ports, things like lanternflies, oriental bittersweet, multiflora rose, stilt grass, and emerald ash borers."

As the board chair of Lundale's Sustainable Forestry Committee, Hicks appreciates that he and Pam can't do the job alone. A big part of his work involves welcoming and shepherding groups of volunteers to implement Lundale's forest management plan, as well as applying for grants to make the work possible.

Part of this teamwork approach has also involved hiring a professional forester to selectively log trees, a project Hicks managed in several areas of the property containing dead or diseased ash and poplar trees. This not only opened the tree canopy for younger trees to receive light, but the sale of the logs helped fund additional work on the property. In tandem with these timbering activities, volunteers and hired help have been hard at work replanting with less susceptible tree species for greater forest diversity and hardiness, helping to ensure a bright (green) future for Lundale's rolling hills.

"Dr. Hicks is a wonderful ambassador for sustainable forestry. He cares deeply for the environment, a true role model for what’s possible in Chester County's forested acres and beyond," says Ag Council Interim Director Ann Lane.

Award Photo

Left to right: Ann Lane, Interim Ag Council Director; Commissioner Josh Maxwell; Dr. Kevin Hicks; Pam Hicks; Commissioner Marian Moskowitz; former Commissioner Michelle Kichline.


Lundale Farm | 2501 Pottstown Pike, Pottstown, PA 19465 | 484-558-0826 |