Q: What is certified hay and where must it be used?
A: The certified noxious weed seed free forage program is designated to assure that certified forage meets the minimum standards designed to limit the spread of noxious weeds. In Minnesota, there are no areas where certified forage (hay) must be used. When trail riding and camping in public parks, it is considered voluntary to use certified hay.
However, if you are planning a trail ride or camping trip with your horse to Wyoming, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Utah or Colorado to ride on public lands, then certified hay must be used. The penalty for using non-certified hay ranges from $68 to $1,370, and the offender could also be responsible for the recovery costs to wildlife habitat.
For a current list of producers of certified noxious weed seed free forage in Minnesota, please call the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association at 800-510-6242.
By Krishona Martinson, PhD, University of Minnesota