Is Your Forage Certified Weed Free?

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AISC weed free forage
Is Your Forage Certified Weed Free? 
 
Are you a forage producer who is interested in helping to prevent the spread of invasive species? If so, read on to learn more about Alberta's Certified Weed Free Forage program, how you can participate and how the Alberta Invasive Species Council (AISC) will help you sell your forage!

Invasive species, such as terrestrial invasive plants, are detrimental to Alberta’s economy and environment. They degrade natural areas, decrease biodiversity, and reduce food and habitat for wildlife. Economically, they cost Alberta an estimated $1 billion each year. Contaminated hay is one means by which invasive plants are spread. To address this, the AISC intends to promote the Alberta Certified Weed Free Forage program to potential buyers and help producers sell their Certified Weed Free Forage.

There are currently eleven counties that are participating in the program and are offering weed free forage inspections. Those include Clearwater County, County of Barrhead, Lacombe County, Kneehill County, Mountain View County, Municipal District of Bonnyville, Northern Sunrise County, Parkland County, Red Deer County, Rocky View County and Smoky Lake County. Municipal participation is voluntary, and we look forward to more counties signing onto the program in future years.

Here is some general information for forage producers that are interested in having fields inspected to certify their forage as weed free:

  • Inspections must be conducted by a Certified Weed Free Forage Inspector within 10 days of harvest. If the crop is not cut within 10 days, a new inspection must be conducted. 
  • Inspectors may certify all or a portion of a field as 'weed free'.
  • Invasive species may be present in a field certified as weed free if there are no propagative plant parts (e.g. flowers, seed heads, root fragments) present. 
  • Participation by municipalities in this program is voluntary. If you produce forage in a municipality that is not participating in the program, but you are interested in having an inspection conducted, please contact the AISC and we will work to find a solution. 
  •  The AISC intends to maintain a publicly available list of producer contact information for producers with inventory of Certified Weed Free Forage. We will update the list frequently and add it to our website. Please let us know if you would like to be added to that list

Weed Free Forage inspections can only be conducted by those with authority under the Weed Control Act (e.g., Weed Inspectors). As such, the actual inspections and certification issuance can only be conducted by Weed Inspectors who have taken recent Certified Weed Free Forage Inspector Training. For information on how to get your field inspected, contact your local Agriculture Fieldmen or the Alberta Invasive Species Council. 

As an added bonus, the AISC will promote this program to potential weed free forage buyers, helping producers sell their Certified Weed Free Forage! As mentioned above, we will list contact information for producers with Certified Weed Free Forage inventory, run articles in local papers, publish social media posts, and include information on the program in our quarterly newsletter and on our website.

Please help us protect Alberta from the harmful impacts of invasive species by spreading the word (not the plant!) about Alberta’s Weed Free Forage program! For more information visit the AISC’s website: abinvasives.ca, phone: 587-999-0954 or email: info@abinvasives.ca.