Manford Ellerhoff was born in West Burlington and attended college at Iowa State University. In 1936, he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in forestry. After college, his first employment was with the Soil Conservation Service from 1936 until 1949. He served first in the Ottumwa area and in 1939 in Illinois. In 1940, he was appointed Iowa's first district forester, with headquarters in Waukon. His last two years with the SCS were spent with the veteran farm training program. In May, 1949, he was named superintendent of forestry for the Iowa Conservation Commission. In 1957, Mr. Ellerhoff became the Commission's first state forester.