PORTLAND, OR - As part of a larger effort to reduce invasive species on national forest lands, weed-free feed is being required in the 17 national forests and the Crooked River National Grasslands of the Pacific Northwest this year. This follows a requirement in 2007 that weed-free feed be used in Pacific Northwest Wildernesses. Livestock owners and others will be required to use feed that is either commercially processed feed or crop products certified to be free of weed seeds. Officials will concentrate on education and compliance this year, until signage and outreach efforts are fully implemented with stricter enforcement to follow.
The new requirement says that all hay, cubed hay, straw, mulch, and other such products used or stored on national forest lands be state certified as weed free. Crop products often contain seeds of non-native weeds that germinate on public lands and damage their health and beauty. Non-native weeds such as leafy spurge, spotted knapweed, yellow star thistle, and others are alien to the United States and have no natural enemies to check their spread.
Oregon and Washington have developed certification processes for crop products. Hay fields are inspected to ensure that listed noxious weed seeds are absent. Once a field passes this inspection, hay and other crop products from the field are labeled as "certified weed-free." Commercially processed feed (pellets and steamed, rolled grains) are not affected by the order and should be used in the affected national forest lands if certified hay products are not available.