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Connecting Agriculture: Noxious Weeds, Obnoxious to Control


For Immediate Release:  May 31, 2017
Media Contact:  Jody Heemstra, 605.773.4073

(***EDITOR’S NOTE: Download an AUDIO version of this column here. Download a PHOTO of Sec. Jaspers here.***)

Connecting Agriculture: Noxious Weeds, Obnoxious to Control
By Mike Jaspers, South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture

Anyone who has had a garden, a lawn or a corn field knows that weeds are a constant challenge. While nobody likes having to spend the time or money to control them, we all have to do our part.

A weed is simply a plant growing where it shouldn’t. They’re burdensome because they compete with other plants in a garden, lawn or field for water and nutrients. Some weeds are more than nuisance; they are harmful to the environment or animals. These weeds are designated as ‘noxious’ and state law requires that they be controlled. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture works with the State Weed and Pest Control Commission to do just that.

Noxious weeds have infested over three million acres in South Dakota and negatively affect agriculture, water quality, recreational opportunities and wildlife. The Weed and Pest Control Commission identifies weeds to be placed on the ‘Noxious Weed List.’ South Dakota currently has seven weeds listed: Canada thistle, leafy spurge, hoary cress, perennial sow thistle, purple loosestrife, saltcedar and Russian knapweed. The commission then works with county weed and pest offices to prevent and control noxious weeds across the state. There is also a ‘locally noxious weed’ designation that can be given if a weed is of particular concern in a specific area of the state. Should you come across any of these, let the department or your county weed office know.

More information on noxious weeds, including pictures of weeds on the ‘Noxious Weed List,’ can be found on the department’s website: sdda.sd.gov. As you’re out in your garden, lawn or field this spring and summer, keep an eye out for noxious weeds. We all need to do our part to control them. So remember when you see someone spraying what look like pretty flowers in the ditch or a fenceline, they may actually be doing their part to control those obnoxious, noxious weeds.