Weed Free Hay and Mulch
Effective January 1, 2009 all hay products, straw and grain used on Nation Forest System lands of the Pacific Cascades region are required to be Washington State certified weed free.
What does this mean to the livestock user?
As a livestock user it is now a legal requirement to use Washington State certified weed free hay and forage on Forest Service land. If you are not using certified product, you may be cited a fine for breaking the law. While this is a legal responsibility, it is also an ethical responsibility because when using product which has not been certified you may be harming the environments which you are trying to enjoy.
Why is it important for my forage to be certified weed free?
Invasive plants can be introduced to the wilderness via non-certified hay, mulch, straw and raw feeds. Invasive plants outcompete native plants, degrade wildlife habitat, and reduce soil and water quality. Invasive plants cause economic losses in natural areas an impact aesthetics and recreation opportunities.
While weeds can be extremely difficult to remove once established in croplands, rangeland, yards, and abandoned lots, they are especially hard to detect and then eradicate in wilderness areas.
How does hay and mulch become certified?
Forage is inspected in the field of origin prior to harvest to ensure forage is free of those noxious weeds, or undesirable plant species declared noxious within the state of origin. It only certifies that the inspector made a reasonable and prudent visual inspection and did not find any noxious weeds, or undesirable plants declared noxious within the state of origin. Your weed free hay will have a WWHAM inspection tag and will be bound in the signature purple and yellow twine. Every distributor should have an inspection certificate available for viewing, which will allow the purchaser to confirm the purchase of actual weed free hay.
Where can I find this product which is required by law?
Please refer to the Washington State Department of Agriculture list of suppliers who have produced WWHAM-certified products during this growing season. You can also find a list of feed stores in your area that sell WWHAM-certified products.
Once I have obtained certified Washington weed free hay or forage, are there any special requirements for storage?
Yes, there are regulations for storage of weed free hay. Certified product must be stored separately from non-certified products so that the weed free hay does not become contaminated. This requirement can be fulfilled with actions as simple as storing it on the opposite side of a barn, or by covering the certified materials with a tarp to avoid contamination.
Interested in becoming a weed free hay grower or distributor in Skamania County?
Please contact us to learn more about providing these important and much-needed services for our area!