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Farmers share concerns on noxious weeds


Amanda Tafolla-Sutton / Sun-Telegraph

Plumeless Thistle is one type of thistle considered to be a noxious weed in Nebraska, along with Canada Thistle and Musk Thistle. Local landowners are concerned about the spread of thistles.

In a regular meeting Tuesday, area farmers brought concerns about noxious weeds before the Cheyenne County Board of Commissioners.

"Approximately five years ago, a group of farmers, some are here today, went to the agricultural office trying to get something done on noxious weeds, and out of that meeting nothing happened," Bob Lafler said.

"I think its ridiculous that I have to go to the sheriff to get something done," Lafler said.

Lafler's complaint is that his neighbors' lack of noxious weed control is affecting his land. He is not alone in this concern. About eight other area farmers showed up at Tuesdays meeting to voice their concerns as well.

"This is the first time this has come to our attention," Commissioner Phillip Sanders said. "Since I have been here this is the first time a group has been here to talk about noxious weeds."

"I'm a farmer, and I am going to tell you my point of view, it is outrageous everywhere," Sanders continued. "I'll take you to Dalton and I will show you the right of way that the railroad has that as far as you can see both directions is solid canadian thistle and bind weed. How do you deal with that? How do you deal with farmers that won't go out and take care of it?"

"I agree with you a thousand percent. I spray my thistle and its not cheap," said Sanders.

Concerned farmers pointed out that discing, mowing and spraying "just Round-Up" was not enough to take care of the problem.

"It gets to enforcement," farmer Randy Mathewson said. "If someone has a quarter section of Canada thistle, put the hammer down to the full extent of the law."

There is procedure for enforcement, County Attorney Paul Schubb said. One would be that Weed Superintendent Brian Hiett issues a notice letter stating the landowner take care of the noxious weeds by means laid out by Hiett.

"Depending on the time of the year and type of weed," Schuab said, "if they do not comply there can be further enforcements taking by the courts."

According to a notice issued by Cheyenne County, noxious weeds are: Musk Thistle, Plumeless Thistle, Canada Thistle, Leafy Spurge, Knapweed (spotted and diffuse), Purple Loosestrife, Saltcedar, Phragmites, Field Bindweed, Scotch Thistle, Sericea Lespedeza, Japanese Knotweed, Bohemian Knotweed, and Giant Knotweed and its cultivars.

Failure to observe the notice could result in a issuance of legal notice to the landowner of property infested with noxious weeds by the Weed Superintendent, giving the landowner 15 days to control the noxious weed infestation.

A conviction for noncompliance may result in a $100.00 per day fine to the landowner with a maximum fine of $1,500.00.

According to the notice, should more immediate control be required, the county can have the weeds controlled by such method it finds necessary. Such action comes at the expense of the land owner in the form of a lien and be entered as a tax against the land.

"It's being addressed pursuant to law," Commissioner Darrell Johnson said. "We're compelled to address it on a county level, if thats not satisfactory then it can pursued on a state level, but I agree with you it needs to be stopped."

For more information or concerns on noxious weeds contact the Cheyenne County Weed Superintendent Brian Heitt at 254-3459.


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