Certified Noxious Weed Free Program
Michelle Cattaneo, Jamshid Ashigh, and Tracey Carrillo
College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, New Mexico State University
Authors: Respectively, Technician III, NMSU Seed Certification, Leyendecker Plant Science Research Center; Extension Weed Specialist/Assistant Professor, Department of Extension Plant Sciences; and Assistant Director, Campus Farm Operations, Leyendecker Plant Science Research Center, all of New Mexico State University. (Print Friendly PDF)
Frequently Asked Questions About Buying and Producing Certified Noxious Weed Free Products in New Mexico
What does "certified noxious weed free" mean?
Certified Noxious Weed Free (CNWF) products have been inspected by New Mexico State University Seed Certification (NMSUSC) trained inspectors prior to harvesting or distribution of the products. Only products found to be free of weed species listed on the North American Noxious Weed list and the New Mexico Noxious Weed list can be certified.
What is the purpose of a Certified Noxious Weed Free program?
Noxious weed-infested products, such as hay, mulches, erosion control materials, and gravel, may facilitate the introduction or spread of noxious weed species in an area. Therefore, a CNWF program is designed to promote healthy vegetative communities in roadsides, construction sites, restoration projects, agricultural fields, and open rangelands by providing certified products that are unlikely to cause noxious weed infestations, which can help prevent costly weed management actions in the future. Furthermore, as federal and state land management agencies begin to adopt noxious weed free polices, the demand for certified products will likely increase.
What can be certified?
Products that can be certified through the CNWF Program are forages, mulches, erosion control materials, and gravel pits. Products certified through this program meet minimum acceptable standards provided by the North American Weed Management Association.
In order to be certified, products like alfalfa hay and straw must be inspected at each cutting by contacting NMSUSC 10 days prior to harvest. Site/facility inspections for mulches, erosion control materials, and gravel pits are required annually or periodically for certification.
Is this program mandatory for producers?
No, this program is not a mandatory program for producers. Requests and inspections are made solely on a voluntary basis.
What documents are required to get started?
To request an inspection, the required documents are available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Forms can be obtained by sending a request to NMSU Seed Certification, Leyendecker Research Center, P.O. Box 30003, MSC 3LEY, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8003; forms can be submitted to this address or faxed to (575) 646-8137.
What should I expect for the inspection?
When requesting an inspection, be prepared to have an inspector arrive and assess your fields and/or operating facility for the presence of plant species listed on the North American and New Mexico Noxious Weed lists. For a forage inspection, the inspector will be using various inspection patterns depending on the field shape and size. If requesting a site inspection for mulches, erosion control materials, or gravel pits, the inspector will be inspecting all areas of the site to ensure that no noxious plant species are present.
After the forage or site inspection is completed, the inspector will provide you with a copy of the Inspection Certificate. Transit Certificates are also offered for out-of-state shipping of the certified products. The special twine (Figure 1) and/or labels (Figure 2) provided at the time of inspection are considered, in most cases, the proof of certification of the products within the state. At least one strand of the special twine must be placed on each bale of certified hay/straw.
Figure 1. Special twine attached to certified noxious weed free products, usually hay/straw.
Figure 2. Sample certified noxious weed free label.
What does certification NOT guarantee?
- It does not guarantee a complete absence of noxious weeds. It only certifies that the inspector made a reasonable and prudent visual inspection and did not find any noxious weed species.
- It does not certify quality, protein content, maturity, or safety of the product.
- It does not mean that there is an absence of non-noxious weeds in the product. The inspector may note on the inspection certificate other factors, such as non-noxious weeds.
- Certification under these rules does not qualify a commodity for export from the United States.
What weeds are not acceptable?
Inspectors from NMSUSC check for the weed species listed in two lists: North American Noxious Weed list, and New Mexico Noxious Weed list. Below is the New Mexico Noxious Weed list.
Class A Species are currently not in NM or have limited distribution:
|Black henbane*||Hyoscyamus niger|
|Canada thistle*||Cirsium arvense|
|Dalmatian toadflax*||Linaria dalmatica|
|Diffuse knapweed*||Centaurea diffusa|
|Dyer's woad*||Isatis tinctoria|
|Eurasian watermilfoil||Myriophyllum spicatum|
|Giant salvinia||Salvinia molesta|
|Hoary cress*||Cardaria spp.|
|Leafy spurge*||Euphorbia esula|
|Oxeye daisy*||Leucanthemum vulgare|
|Purple loosestrife*||Lythrum salicaria|
|Purple starthistle||Centaurea calcitrapa|
|Ravenna grass||Saccharum ravennae|
|Scotch thistle*||Onopordum acanthium|
|Spotted knapweed*||Centaurea biebersteinii|
|Yellow starthistle*||Centaurea solstitialis|
|Yellow toadflax*||Linaria vulgaris|
Class B Species are limited to portions of the state:
|African rue||Peganum harmala|
|Malta starthistle||Centaurea melitensis|
|Musk thistle*||Carduus nutans|
|Perennial pepperweed*||Lepidium latifolium|
|Poison hemlock*||Conium maculatum|
|Russian knapweed*||Acroptilon repens|
|Tree of heaven||Ailanthus altissima|
Class C Species are widespread in the state:
|Bull thistle||Cirsium vulgare|
|Jointed goatgrass*||Aegilops cylindrica|
|Russian olive||Elaeagnus angustifolia|
|Siberian elm||Ulmus pumila|
Please note that only the species marked with an asterisk (*) are cross-referenced in the North American Noxious Weed list.
If you have questions about the CNWF Program, please contact:
NMSU Seed Certification
Leyendecker Research Center
P.O. Box 30003
Las Cruces, NM 88003-8003
Phone: (575) 646-4125
Fax: (575) 646-8137
To find more resources for your business, home, or family, visit the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences on the World Wide Web at aces.nmsu.edu.
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New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. NMSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating.
Printed and electronically distributed on October 2011, Las Cruces, NM.