ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is rooting out weeds in the state with the help of updates to Minnesota law. New lists and categories of noxious weeds have been developed by the department with the help of a new advisory committee. These changes will be enforced starting with the 2011 growing season. Prohibited noxious weeds must be controlled or eradicated on all lands in Minnesota.
Noxious weeds can cause major problems for agricultural producers and land managers. Weed species like leafy spurge reduce quality forage for livestock operations and can be extremely toxic if ingested by grazing animals. Others, such as purple loosestrife, have been known to take over landscapes and cause problems like choking-out agricultural drainage ditches or severely damaging shoreline habitat.
In 2009, the Minnesota Legislature revised the state’s Noxious Weed Law to include the development of an advisory committee that assists the Commissioner of Agriculture with determining and listing noxious weeds in the state. The advisory committee successfully overhauled the noxious weed categories and listed species to better reflect current trends in agriculture and land use across the state.
“The new Noxious Weed Advisory Committee is comprised of experts and scientists from agriculture, county government, environmental interests and the university” said Geir Friisoe, MDA’s Plant Protection Division Director. “This broad representation will provide direction and guidance in helping the department make the best decisions possible in determining the appropriate classification of various weeds threatening the state.”
The recent changes include several new species being added to the state’s Prohibited-Control Noxious Weed List. New listings include wild parsnip, spotted knapweed, and common tansy. There is also the addition of an eradicate list that includes species not known to be in Minnesota at this time, but are on or near the borders or are established in the state in isolated populations.
The Minnesota Noxious Weed Law was created in 1895 to protect residents of the state from the damaging effects of noxious weeds. County agricultural inspectors, township officials, and city mayors are responsible for enforcing the Minnesota Noxious Weed Law. Landowners that neglect to control or eradicate noxious weeds on their properties can be subjected to the enforcement process outlined in the weed law. Neglecting to comply with an official order to control noxious weeds from a county or municipality can result in a misdemeanor fine or a charge against the property in question to hire the work done on behalf of the county.
To view the most current listing and categories of noxious weeds in Minnesota, please visit the MDA’s website at http://www.mda.state.mn.us/weedcontrol. For more information on the MDA’s Noxious and Invasive Weed Program, call 651-201-6538.