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Weed Free Forage Program
Certified weed free hay and straw is in high demand in Oregon and throughout the Western States.  The ODA Weed Free Forage Program, as part of an integrated weed management approach, can help limit the spread of noxious weeds and protect Oregon agriculture.

In 1991, representatives from Western States started a regional forage certification program that later become the North American Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA).   This consortium has developed a set of minimum standards for states and Canadian provinces. The goal of weed free forage standards is to provide guidelines and minimum requirements for uniform participation by various provinces and states.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture was asked by the State Board of Agriculture and the Oregon State Weed Board to develop a weed free forage certification program. ODA began discussions with the Oregon Hay Growers Association and the Oregon Ag Fiber Association. The intent was to explore the creation of a "win-win" program by certifying a value added product, while at the same time preventing the spread of invasive noxious weeds.
In 2002, the Biscuit Fire burned nearly a half a million acres in Southwest Oregon. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) contacted ODA to certify weed free straw to be used as mulch in the fire rehabilitation project.  At that time, certified straw was not available in Oregon and the USFS explored the possibility of importing certified rice straw from California. ODA staff developed a Memorandum of Understanding with Modoc County, California that certified 4,000 acres of cereal grain straw in the Klamath Basin. Five thousand two hundred tons of straw were used for the Biscuit Fire rehabilitation project. An estimated $1.3 million return to growers and operators in the basin.
In 2003, Wallowa County adopted the North American Weed Management Association (NAWMA) certification standards and now has certified hay and straw products available. Information on the Wallow County program can be found on their web site at: http://www.certifiedwallowacountyhay.com/
At the request of industry and land management cooperators, Oregon Department of Agriculture has developed procedures for a pilot weed-free forage certification program.  This is a voluntary pilot program with the intent of certifying weed forage as a part of the overall weed prevention effort.  Procedures will meet or exceed NAWMA standards. Prohibited noxious weeds include those found on either NAWMA or the Oregon state noxious weed list.

Program Authority

ODA Weed Free Forage Certification Pilot Program (65.5KB pdf)

The Oregon Department of Agriculture has authority to set grades and standards for forage products under ORS.63​2.900-632.990.  

Why weed free forage?
Noxious weeds infest millions of acres in Oregon and continue to spread into healthy agricultural, timber, and rangeland, causing major economic impact. Noxious weeds also invade watersheds,  negatively impacting wildlife and native plants. Our first line of defense to protect both our economy and ecosystem from weed invasion is "prevention." The use of weed free hay and straw is one very important prevention strategy for protection of natural resources.
Many cooperators in Oregon request certified weed free straw to be used in restoration projects and for all hay brought onto federal lands. Cooperators include the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). The USFS suggests that certified hay be available to equestrians using the "back county" in an effort to prevent weed introductions via contaminated hay. The USFS Invasive Plant Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) includes a major emphasis on prevention.  As of January 1, 2007, all Region 6 USFS wilderness areas require exclusive use of weed free forage and mulch for outfitter guide use, recreational use, and fire rehabilitation. Effective January 1, 2009 all Region 6 administered lands will require weed free forage, mulch, and rehailitation products.  To implement these initiatives, a certified products program needs to be available. Additionally, many counties and cites are requiring certified straw for ODOT roadside restoration projects.
Straw to be used as mulch for construction and fire rehabilitation is in the greatest demand. Wildfire potential is highest during periods of low rainfall and reduced snow pack, thereby increasing the demand for certified straw.

Order NAWMA colored twine
After fields are certified under Oregon Department of Agriculture Weed Free Forage and Mulch Program, you may order North American Weed Management Association (NAWMA) purple and yellow twine from Continental Western Corporation (CWC). 
Contact CWC directly to order twine.  CWC will contact ODA via email, phone, or fax to confirm your eligibility to purchase twine and amount requested. 
Available twine this year from CWC is 440- and 240-knot strength. ODA has a limited amount of 440-knot strength in Hermiston.  Contact Commodity Inspection at (503) 986-4620 for further information. 
Contact CWC for prices and shipping rates. 
Continental Western Corporation 
12021 NE Erin Way 
Portland, OR 97220 
Bob Pollock, Vice President and Portland Branch Manager 
Phone: (503) 223-5194 
Fax: (503) 223-6729 
Kelly Dougherty, Sales 
Phone: (503) 223-5194 
Fax: (503) 223-6729 
Cell: (503) 410-0981 
How to participate
The first step in the process is to complete a request for crop inspection. Requests for crop inspections need to be submitted at least 20 days prior to harvest. Requests may be made in person, by phone, fax, email, in writing or by completing the certification application. Requests must include applicant's name, address, telephone number, field location(s), crop, acreage, estimated yield by weight, number of bales, anticipated harvest date, a detailed map of the field(s) and the township, range, section and quarter, or GPS coordinates. Once the request has been processed by ODA, the grower will be contacted and the field inspection portion will begin.

NOTICE to GROWERS: please remember it is your responsibility to contact ODA 10 to 12 days prior to harvest, even if you have previously submitted your request for certification.
The chart below gives a break out of the certification process. Please click on the image for a larger version.


Inspection fees will be charged at a rate of $60.00 per hour with a four-hour minimum or $3.00 per acre, which ever is greater.   A mileage  fee for the inspector's travel  will be charged at the current official state mileage rate, and there will be a $25 non-refundable application fee.

Weed free forage providers

 Content Editor


Noxious weed lists
NAWMA Weed List (PDF)
Oregon State Noxious Weed List

Who to contact
Randy Black
Commodity Inspection Division
Commodity Inspection Division