CDA program provides opportunity to farmers while reducing noxious weeds
BROOMFIELD, Colo. – The Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Certified Weed Free Forage & Mulch program works to reduce noxious weeds and provides an opportunity for farmers to sell their product as “certified weed free.” The program inspects forage or mulch before it is harvested to ensure there are no noxious weeds in the mulch or forage. The use of certified weed free forage and mulch is intended to reduce the spread of weeds on public land or other areas where forage or mulch is used.
“This program is of great value to our farmers and purchasers of their products. Certain public and provincial lands have areas that require regional weed free forage and this program offers that certification,” said Les Owen, CDA’s Conservation Services division director. “Plus, we do all the work to assist farmers in getting signed up. We help gather the information, such as the number of acres involved, schedule the inspection, and provide the specially colored twine that labels it as weed-free. ”
Weed free forage is required on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands, in national parks and monuments, Bureau of Reclamation land, military reservations, tribal lands, and National Fish & Wildlife refuges. Colorado is a part of the Regional Weed Free Forage program. Forage that is regionally certified in Colorado will be accepted in all states participating in the Regional Weed Free Forage program.
Those certified through the program are also listed in a booklet and online to better connect sellers and buyers. In 2017, approximately 32,000 acres in Colorado were certified as weed-free through 159 growers.
The Certified Weed Free Forage Crop Certification program is an industry funded program. The law requires that fees be charged to cover all direct and indirect costs of the program. The producer will be charged the following: Inspection time, driving time, mileage, administrative and an acreage fee in addition to the twine or wire. The program fees to the producer are $20/hr for inspection and drive-time and $2.50 per approved acre. The twine is sold at cost.
For more on the program and to find certified weed-free products, visit our website. Growers can ask questions and begin the process to become certified by contacting Don Gallegos, chemigation coordinator, at (303) 869-9038 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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