To the hay industry, “Certified” simply means that a forage product is free of any noxious weeds. The correct terminology should always be “Certified Noxious Weed Free”. Laws are becoming quite prevalent in requiring “certified noxious weed free” forages when taking animals and animal feed into the mountains, whether it be a National Forest, State Forest, BLM land, etc.
The certification process begins with a states’ Department of Agriculture and their recognition of what weeds are termed or deemed noxious in that particular state. The state of Idaho recognizes 57 different weeds that are considered noxious. Other states may recognize more or fewer noxious weed types. Each state’s Department of Agriculture also mandates their own certification by-laws. No states have the exact same by-laws. The 13 western states have formed an alliance, where as they try to set a general by-law for all states to follow or recognize. This alliance is known as “The North American Weed Management Association” which produces the “North American Weed Free Forage Certification Program”. Because of variances in each states certification process, consumers have been forced to get informed about each states requirement, if they are taking animals into forested lands. The state of Idaho Department of Agriculture by-laws require farm lands to be evaluated during the growing season, samples of weeds taken and analyzed at independent laboratories. The Standlee Hay Company has its’ fields inspected yearly by the State of Idaho Department of Agriculture and certified to be free of any noxious weeds.