Weed-Free Feed Information

As part of an effort to prevent the introduction of noxious weed seed and reduce invasive weed species on National Forest lands, weed-free feed is required of those using pack and saddle animals in Pacific Northwest Wilderness areas.

Pack and saddle animal owners and users are required to use feed that is either commercially processed feed or crop products certified to be free of weed seeds. All hay, cubed hay, straw, mulch, and other such products used or stored in Wilderness need to be state-certified as weed free.

This requirement is currently specific to Wilderness and Wilderness trailheads this year, as these areas often are free of invasive plants, and introduction can be checked through efforts such as weed-free feed. Next year, the requirement will expand to all National Forest System lands.

The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest has had a no-hay policy in Wilderness for the last 20+ years, but this additional policy broadens it by requiring certified weed-free hay at Wilderness trailheads and the trails leading to Wilderness areas.

How to help minimize the spread of invasive species:

  • Feeding pack and saddle animals with commercially processed feed pellets, steam rolled grains, or state certified hay for one or more days prior to your trip to the forest helps prevent the transport of weed seed in stock manure.
  • Make sure all animals, including pack and saddle animals and dogs, as well as visitors’ clothing and shoes are free of weed seeds.
  • Keep vehicles on established roads and parking areas to minimize the spread of previously established invasive plants and noxious weeds.
  • Clean your vehicle and pack and saddle animal trailer before entering the forest—DO NOT clean manure from trailers on National Forest lands.

Questions & Answers:

What is changing for parties who use hay or crop products on Oregon and Washington National Forests ?

Commercially processed feed (pellets or steamed, rolled grains) or state certified weed-free feed is now required in all congressionally designated wilderness in Oregon and Washington National Forests .

What is meant by the term “weed-free hay or crop products?

Weed-free hay or crop products have been inspected according to standards used by the North American Weed Management Association (NAWMA) and member states. Under NAWMA standards, fields are inspected to ensure the absence of seed and reproductive parts from listed invasive weed species.

Exactly what types hay or crop products are required?

Hay, hay cubes, straw, grain or other crop or mulch products that are state certified as weed-free. Commercially processed feed pellets or steamed, rolled grains are also allowed. They are considered weed-free feed and need not be state certified.

Does certification of hay or crop products guarantee that no invasive, noxious weeds will be found in the product?

No. Certification is simply the most feasible way to minimize the risk of viable invasive and noxious weed seed being transported within hay or crop products.


Where do I get state certified hay and crop products in Washington ?

The Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board --along with county weed boards, the Washington Hay Growers Association, and Backcountry Horsemen of Washington-- have put together a pilot program to certify hay and straw. The program is called the Washington Wilderness Hay and Mulch (WWHAM) program, and it is North American Weed Management Association approved. For more information, please contact the WA State Noxious Weed Control Board at 360-902-2082 or at noxiousweeds@agr.wa.gov. (Note: The State of Washington Dept. of Agriculture currently does not have a certification program for either hay or crop products.)

Do state certified hay or crop products cost more than uncertified products?

The cost of state certified hay or crop products can be somewhat higher and the price will likely vary with location and availability.

Where to purchase weed-free feed?

“Big R stores

Growers of Weed Free Straw:
Richard Jones, Douglas County (509) 745-8351
Kurt Isaak, Douglas County (509) 632-5712
Steve Koelzer Farms, Franklin County (509) 543-3772
Jerry Heilig, Grant County (509) 765-5023
Elwin Crutcher, Stanwood , WA ( Snohomish County ) 360-939-2334

Distributors of Weed Free Straw:
S-K Environmental, Okanogan WA . Sheilah Kennedy 509-322-6909, shekennedy@hotmail.com
King Feed, Enumclaw WA 360-825-6554. Straw buyer is Mike Hamlin (253-261-1001). He buys from farmers in eastern Washington whose fields have been inspected by Dean Alverson (Coordinator for Intercounty Weed District #52). Mr. Alverson provides a letter for the farmers.

For more information go to: www.fs.usda.gov/r6/weeds