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Rick Horton

Head shot of Rick Horton stating that he brings 25 years of forestry and wildlife experience to his role on the Council.Rick Horton was “always the wildlife kid.”  Growing up hunting and fishing just outside Madison, Wisconsin in McFarland, Horton had a pet raccoon, a pet coot, and for 7th grade science, a skull collection.  After high school, Horton spent nine years working for TREK Bicycle but found himself stifled by factory life.  Speaking with fishing terminology, Horton says he “cast about for a life change”, and at 28 years of age, dropped out of the workforce and reeled in a master’s degree in wildlife ecology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

After graduation, Horton found adventure that had been lacking in the factory. His most memorable career moments include airboat alligator surveys and nuisance bear work with the Florida Game & Fish Commission, and meeting President George Bush at a Farm Bill ceremony while working with the Ruffed Grouse Society.  Some of Horton’s most rewarding work occurred while helping realign the National Wild Turkey Federation’s mission from turkey population restoration to all-species habitat restoration and hunter recruitment/retention focus. 

Working with the Ruffed Grouse Society, Horton knew that forest policy supporting active forest management could accomplish critical conservation of the suite of species that require young forest habitats on far more acres than small habitat projects could. This knowledge brought Horton to MFRC meetings starting in the year 2000. 

Over the ensuing years, Horton has twice served as alternate and is now the Primary Forest Products Industry representative on the Council.  As Executive Vice President for Minnesota Forest Industries, Horton is uniquely suited to represent his stakeholders and routinely informs the Minnesota Forest Industries Government Affairs Committee, Forestry Affairs Committee, and Board of Directors of the activities of the MFRC.  Horton is excited to help make the Council more politically relevant as the state of Minnesota and its citizens gain a greater understanding of the role of forests and forest products in addressing climate change.

“The Council has done a good job over the years of cooperatively addressing many of the vexing forestry problems of the day,” Horton says. “The growing recognition of the role forests and forest products play in absorbing and storing carbon presents a new challenge and opportunity.  My hope is that the future holds more public support for active forest management and growth within the industry to use wood-based products to replace nearly all petroleum-based products humans use every day.”

Rick Horton poses with a trophy buck and rifle.
Horton harvests a buck on family forestland
near Grand Rapids.

Rick Horton holding several harvested ruffed grouse with wetland scene in background.
Northern Minnesota's forests provide world-class ruffed grouse hunting. 
Rick Horton holding a gun in an open prairie landscape.
Horton ponders the open prairie of North Dakota.
Rick Horton poses with a harvested wild turkey.
As a former biologist with the National Wild Turkey Federation,
Horton enjoyed a successful hunt in the Black Hills. 



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