Gov’t gets tough on noxious farm weeds

An enhanced provincial Weed Control Act went into effect June 16.

  • Jun. 16, 2010 6:00 p.m.

By Adam Eisenbarth

An enhanced provincial Weed Control Act went into effect June 16.

The new act calls for increased protection from a number of weeds.

Now with 75 plants divided into the prohibited noxious, and noxious lists, the new act is designed to better protect landowners.

Shayne Steffen , Ponoka County manager of agricultural services, has noticed issues with weeds such as orange hawkweed and meadow hawkweed north of the Bluffton and Hoadley areas, and spray programs will likely increase to prevent the weeds from spreading.

“Some of the issues we’re trying to deal with now is the province wants us to issue notices if we find it. Basically as the act reads, it doesn’t give us a choice as inspectors.”

While Steffen clearly understands the importance of weed control, he’s hoping to see more of a team effort to get the job done.

“That’s one of the issues we’re going to be talking to the province to see how we can get into this without making enemies.”

Weed removal is the responsibility of the landowner and that can cause issues for landowners if they have prohibited weeds on their property.

“That could cause some hardships especially if a guy has a fair amount of it, it’s going to cost a lot of money for them to keep it under control.”

The increase in prohibited weeds could mean an increase in chemicals and while some farmers have issues with the use of chemicals for weed control, Steffen says that’s often the best way to go.

“If we don’t have to push chemical control we won’t, but for the most part, chemical control options are going to be your quicker solutions.”

Steffen says the county recognizes the concerns of those against chemical use, though the priority is to protect surrounding landowners.

“At the same time we have to look at protecting the other landowners who don’t have the weeds from getting (weeds) on their properties.”

The new Weed Act does not only affect farmers. For residents in town, one weed that can cause issues is Himalayan Balsam.

“It’s a pinkish orchid that a lot of people have in their gardens. That’s on the prohibited list, as well as golden clematis, and there are a few other ones that people might have in their gardens. If the weed inspectors see them, they’re going to have to remove them.”

For more information on the Weed Control Act, visit www.agriculture.alberta.ca

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