Weed Seed-Free Forage Program

Hay Field

Weed Seed-Free Hay or Straw 
Recreational horse owners that trail ride in a number of federal and state parks will need to provide their animals with Certified Weed Seed-Free Forage. Using Weed Seed-Free Hay in the parks helps to control the spread of invasive weeds into native prairies and rangelands. All certified hay is inspected to cutting for presence of certain weeds. 
If any of the listed weeds are in the pre-bloom production stage the hay can be certified. If any weeds are in the bloom or seed stage the field is not certified, it can then be cut as regular hay. 
All hay bales are tagged or have a certain color twine to prove certification. 
Grain straw or other plant material to be used as mulch can also be certified as Weed Seed-Free Forage. Inspection criteria are the same for hay lands. The program is administered by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. Forage producers and inspectors are listed on the NDDA website.

Forage producers that wish to have their lands inspected and certified as Weed Seed-Free Forage can contact the Ward County Weed Control office at 852-1970.
North Dakota Weed Seed Free Forage Program 
Objectives of the Program 
• To prevent the spread of North American Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA) and North
    Dakota noxious weeds; 
• To protect public and private lands from introduction of non-native, invasive plant species; and 
• To provide a product which is recognized as acceptable and transportable onto public lands closed to all but
    certified weed seed free forage (WSFF).

Why is certified weed seed free forage required? 
Public lands in North Dakota as well as other Western states require the use of forage that has been inspected and is certified as weed seed free. North Dakota’s State Parks, National Parks, as well as U.S. Forest Service lands, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Military Reservations, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife lands all require the use of certified WSFF. This is to mitigate the risk of introducing and/or spreading noxious and invasive weeds through forage used by horse riders, recreational land users and those using forage as mulch for projects.

What is "Certified Weed Seed Free Forage" under this program? 
This is forage which has been inspected by designated agents ("inspector") of the Agriculture Commissioner prior to cutting. There is a reasonable and prudent visual inspection using standardized inspection procedures. Forage found to be free of weed seeds identified in the North American Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA) weed list (which includes North Dakota noxious weeds) may be certified.

How does forage certification work? 
Forage crops must be inspected within ten days of cutting or harvest. Inspections are made on a field-by-field basis. Certification is based upon a reasonable and prudent visual inspection by inspectors using a standardized inspection procedure. A Weed Seed Free Forage Inspection Report and Certification [SFN 59074] form is completed and details whether or not forage meets the minimum standards. A field includes a surrounding buffer zone of 1 rod (16 ½ feet or 5 ½ yards). After baling, the producer requests special tags from the inspector for the exact number of bales produced and are affixed to each bale. Sites where certified forage will be stored must also be inspected and meet North American Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA) standards in order to prevent contamination of certified forage.

How do I get my forage inspected? 
Contact an inspector in your area and ask for a Weed Seed Free Forage Certification Request to Inspect [SFN 59075]. To locate an inspector in your area, check the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) website or call the NDDA at 701-328-2330 or 800-242-7535. Fill out SFN 59075 and send it to the appropriate inspector or to the NDDA. An inspector will contact you and make arrangements to perform the inspection(s).

Where can I find a list of certified weed seed free forage that is for sale? 
The NDDA lists producers who have WSFF for sale and their contact information on the website. This is a free listing service that can be accessed by anyone with a computer and an internet connection. Also, check with the agency where you will be using the forage (BLM, USFS, National Park Service, etc.) as they may have a list of producers and/or vendors of WSFF or have a supply on hand. Finally, you may contact the NDDA at 701-328-2330 or 800-242-7535 or website.

How do I know I am purchasing certified weed seed free forage? 
Certified WSFF will have a colored, dated tag affixed to each bale. Forage from other states may have either a tag or a specially colored twine which identifies it as certified forage. The producer will also have a copy of the Weed Seed Free Forage Inspection Report and Certification [SFN 59074] form which indicates whether or not the field passed inspection and lists the numbers of the tags issued to him/her for each bale produced from each field. To view a sample of the certified tag click here. 
  For any questions or comments, please contact Lane Kozel with the North Dakota Department of Agriculture at 701-328-2250 (office) or by email at ldkozel@nd.gov. To download and/or print the latest brochure click here.
NAISMA Weed Seed Free Forage Certification Standards
North American Noxious Weed List

Key: * = ND Noxious weed (either county or state listed) (28)
           + = invasive weed known to occur in ND but not county or state listed noxious (17) 
! = invasive weed not currently known to occur in ND (18)

*Absinth wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) [P] [F] 
!Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) [P] [F] 
+Buffalobur (Solanum rostratum) [A] [N or F] 
*Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) [P] [F] 
*Common burdock (Arctium minus) [B] [F] 
!Common crupina (Crupina vulgaris) [A] [F] 
*Common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) [P] [F] 
*Dalmatian toadflax (Linaria dalmatica) [P] [F] 
*Diffuse knapweed (Centaurea diffusa) [A, B, or P] [F] 
!Dyers woad (Isatis tinctoria) [A or B or P] [F] 
+Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) [P] [F] 
+Hemp (marijuana) (Cannabis sativa) [A] [F] 
*Henbane, Black (Hyoscyamus niger) [A or B] [F] 
*Hoary cress (Cardaria spp.) [P] [F] 
!Horsenettle (Solanum carolinense) [P] [N] 
*Houndstongue (Cynoglossum officinale) [B] [P] [F] 
+Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense) [P] [F] 
+Jointed goatgrass (Aegilops cylindrica) [A] [F] 
*Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) [P] [F] 
!Matgrass (Nardus stricta) [P] [F] 
!Meadow knapweed (Centaurea pratensis) [P] [F] 
!Medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) [A] [F] 
!Milium (Milium vernale) [A] [F] 
*Musk thistle (Carduus nutans) [B] [F] 
*Orange hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum) [P] [F] 
+Oxeye daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum) [P] [F] 
!Perennial pepperweed (Lepidium latifolium) [P] [F] 
!Perennial sorghum (Sorghum almum) [P] [F] 
*Perennial sowthistle (Sonchus arvensis) [P] [F] 
+Plumeless thistle (Carduus acanthoides) [A or B] [F] 
+Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) [B] [F] 
+Puncturevine (Tribulus terrestris) [A] [F] 
*Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) [P] [F] 
+Quackgrass (Agropyron repens) [P] [F] 
!Rush skeletonweed (Chondrilla juncea) [P] [F] 
*Russian knapweed (Centaurea repens) [P] [F] 
+Scentless chamomile (Matricaria perforata or M. milaceum) [P] [F] 
!Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) [P] [F] 
*Scotch thistle (Onopordum acanthium) [B] [F] 
!Sericea Lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata) [P] [F] 
!Silverleaf nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium) [P] [Nor F] 
+Skeletonleaf bursage (Ambrosia tomentosa) [P] [N or F] 
*Spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa) [B or P] [F] 
!Squarrose knapweed (Centaurea virgata) [P] [F] 
*St. Johnswort (Hypericum perforatum) [P] [F] 
+Sulfur cinquefoil (Potentilia recta) [P] [F] 
!Syrian beancaper (Zygophyllum fabago) [P] [F] 
+Tansy ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) [B or P] [F] 
!Toothed spurge (Euphorbia dentata) [A] [N or F] 
+Wild oats (Avena fatua) [A] [F] 
+Wild proso millet (Panicum miliaceum) [A] [F] 
+Yellow hawkweed (Hieracium pratense) [P] [F] * see Meadow hawkweed for MT 
!Yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis) [A] [F] 
*Yellow toadflax (Linaria vulgaris) [P] [F]

North Dakota noxious weeds not already listed above
but included in NAISMA Standards includes: 
*Annual sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus) [A] [F] 
*Baby’s breath (Gypsophila paniculata) [P] [A] [F] 
*Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) [B] [F] 
*Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) [P] 
*False chamomile (Matricaria maritima) [A] [P] [F] 
*Downy Brome (Cheatgrass) (Bromus tectorum) [A] [F] 
*Kochia (Kochia scoparia) [A] [F] 
*Marsh sowthistle (Sonchus arvensis) [P] [F] 
*Saltcedar (Tamarix sp.) [P] [F]

Forage will be inspected in the field (including ditches, fence rows, roads, easement, right-of-way, or buffer zone, surrounding the field) of origin. Field will be inspected for the sixty-three (63) weed species listed above prior to cutting or harvesting.

[A] Annual [B] Biennial [P] Perennial [N] Native [F] Foreign Origin

*List is subject to change during the year as some ND noxious weeds may be added or removed