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Montana Certified Noxious Weed Seed Free Forage logo

Noxious Weed Seed Free Forage Required on Public Lands

Noxious weeds have a destructive impact on Montana's landscape, displacing native plant species, increasing soil erosion, and decreasing wildlife habitat as well as compromising recreational values.

Preventing the spread of noxious weeds into our pristine back country is vital. Certified noxious weed seed free forage is required when horses or pack animals are used on public land in Montana. Government agencies and public utilities also are required to use weed free mulches, bedding materials and erosion control barriers in their work.

How can YOU help reduce the spread of noxious weeds?

Feed horses NWSFF hay at least three days prior to going on county, state or federal lands to ensure any previously consumed weed seeds pass through the animal while transitioning over to the weed free hay.

Use NWSFF hay and straw for 4-H and rodeo events at county fairgrounds. National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and State lands require the use of certified forage and each bale or bag of feed must have an NWSFF marker (twine, tags, or label). Know before you GO!

Buy NWSFF hay or straw for use on your own property. This helps prevent the spread of noxious weeds along with SAVING yourself money in the future on weed control efforts. Once a noxious weed population is established, controlling it can be expensive and develop into a long term battle to reach eradication.

How do you find certified Noxious Weed Seed Free Forage (NWSFF) Products?

You are required to use certified forage on public lands, but it is also a benefit to use certified hay or straw on your own property to prevent getting a new noxious weed and the expense of controlling it on your land.

Click on the symbols, showing NWSFF producer location, to see detailed information about available certified weed free products. Click on "Legend" at the top of the map to see what type of forage the symbols represent.

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How do you certify your field as Noxious Weed Seed Free Forage (NWSFF)?

  • Contact a certified NWSFF Inspector 7 days prior to cutting your hay or 14 days before harvest to certify the field for straw. SEE BELOW an interactive map to locate an inspector near you.
  • Pay a $4.50/acre inspection fee for each acre inspected or for a field that is 10 acres or less pay a flat fee of $45.00.
  • Use one of the approved NWSFF markers on your hay/forage product, which include:
    1. Colored twine (blue and orange) on one side of the bale ($50/box), OR
    2. Tags ($50/bag – 100 tags/bag) are required on every bale of hay/straw that is sold in one ton or less; loads of more than a ton require four corners of the load be tagged.
  • Complete a transportation certificate for the forage product sold. It is the responsibility of each producer to make sure that all certified NWSFF sold under the program is properly labeled and identified with transportation certificates before it leaves the premises.
  • A field can also be regionally certified if the field meets the North American Standards for being weed free, which includes additional weed species, such as quackgrass, musk thistle, and wild oats, which the field will be inspected for in addition to the Montana list of noxious weeds. Once a field is regionally certified then that forage can be used out-of-state.
  • Fields that appear weedy or show poor crop practices, even though noxious weeds are not present, will not be NWSFF certified. An example of this is a field with excessive tumble mustard, kochia, Western salsify, etc.

Click on the symbols, showing NWSFF inspector location, to see contact information on Montana's certified inspectors. Click on "Legend" at the top of the map to see what type of inspector the symbols represent.


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How do you become a Noxious Weed Seed Free Forage (NWSFF) Inspector?

Complete the initial certification process by:

  • Reading and understanding the NWSFF Inspector’s Manual,
  • Attending a Department of Agriculture training course that covers the NWSFF Act and Administrative Rules, field inspection techniques, how to complete the required forms, map reading, and treatment methods for weed management,
  • Passing the NWSFF exam with a score of 80 percent or better, and
  • Then an ID number and identification card will be issued to the inspector.

NWSFF Inspectors will be recertified on an annual basis prior to the growing season.

Please contact Kim Antonick at 406-444-7819 or for training session scheduling info.

Current NWSFF
Inspectors Annual

Advises the Department on Noxious Weed Seed Free Forage issues regarding the forage certification program, forage advertising, and the use of Noxious Weed Seed Free Forage on federal/state lands.

The Council is made up of 10 members including the Director of the Montana Department of Agriculture. Council members represent different groups such as producers, guides and outfitters, weed districts, and pellet manufacturers. The Council recommends inspection fees and marker costs which are regulated by program Rules. The Rules provide a mechanism to standardize fees, inspection procedures, enforcement actions, marking and tracking systems.

Upcoming Meetings

Noxious Weed Seed Free Forage Advisory Council Meeting
Date: February 18th, 2016
Where: Montana Dept. of Agriculture, Helena
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Conference Room #225

Board Members

Name City Term End Qualifications
Ron de Yong MT Dept. of Agriculture
P.O. Box 200201
Helena, MT 59620
  Department Director & Council Chair
Colter Tinsen Westfeeds, Inc.
921 15th St. N
Great Falls, MT 59401
9/17/2017 Feed Pellets/Cube Products
Bob Rangitsch 2777 Kleinschmidt Flat Rd
Ovando, MT 59854
9/17/2018 Livestock/Agriculture
Kim Nile, Chair 1684 Old Hwy 10
Forsyth, MT 59327
Dec 1, 2016 Producer
Margie Edsall PO Box 278
Virginia City, MT 59755
9/17/2017 Weed Districts (Western)
Carter Butori 6230 Highway 91 North
Dillon, MT 597259
9/17/2015 Forage Producer (South Central)
Jim Bouma 4 Bellview Road
Choteau, MT 59422
9/17/2016 Forage Producer (Golden Triangle)
Kehoe Wayman Big Salmon Outfitters
P.O. Box 496
Ronan, MT 59864
9/17/2016 Outfitters & Guides Association
Jennifer Olson PO Box 200
Broadus, MT 59317
9/17/2017 Weed Districts (Eastern)
Mark Siderius 1066 Steel Bridge Road
Kalispell, MT 59901
9/17/2016 Forage Producer (Western)
Jim Melin 305 Mill Creek Rd
Livingston, MT 59047
9/17/2017 Forage Producer (Central)
David Wichman MSU Ag Research Center
HC90 Box 20
Moccasin, MT 59462
Emily Glunk MSU Extension
P.O. Box 173120
Bozeman, MT 59717

Montana Noxious Weed Program
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601

Kim Antonick
Noxious Weed Seed Free Forage

Phone: (406) 444-7819
Fax: (406) 444-9493

Noxious Weed Seed Free Forage Forms & Files

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