Hunters, Recreationalists Reminded to Use Certified Noxious Weed Seed Free Forage on Public Lands
Hunters and recreationalists are reminded that the State of Montana requires the use of certified Noxious Weed Seed Free Forage (NWSFF) to feed horses and other animals on federal, state and local public lands in order to prevent the spread of noxious weeds.
“Our public lands have many uses and bringing your horse, mule or other pack animal into the back country is an experience many Montanans enjoy. It’s important to protect our pristine public lands from the devastating impacts of noxious weeds and follow the law by using certified noxious weed seed free forage,” said program manager Kim Antonick.
The Montana Department of Agriculture uses trained inspectors to certify hay or straw by inspecting fields for noxious weeds before it has been cut and baled. Once inspected and certified, the producer uses NWSFF markers, red tags, or blue and orange twine to identify the hay or straw as certified noxious weed seed free. Purchasers of NWSFF need to look for red tags or blue and orange twine to ensure the forage is certified and should receive a transportation certificate from the producer.
The department also certifies NWSFF horse pellets, cubes, and whole oats from participating manufactures marked with a florescent orange label with a unique identification number. A complete list of certified Montana producers and an interactive map is available on the department’s website.
“We also recommend that you feed your animal noxious weed seed free forage at least three days before you use them on public land to prevent transport within the animal’s digestive tract,” explained Antonick.
The Noxious Weed Seed Free Forage program is a valuable tool in noxious weed management to prevent noxious weeds from invading and disrupting public land ecosystems and marginalizing public grazing areas.
The Montana Department of Agriculture’s mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries. For more information on the Montana Department of Agriculture, visit agr.mt.gov.