(Jamie) Welcome back to Farm Factor. Let’s meet up with Kyle and Ryan as they discuss weeds in Kansas and the job of County Noxious Weed Director.
(Kyle) Hi this is Kyle Bauer from Dodge City. I have the opportunity to visit with Ryan Witt. He is the Noxious Weed Director for Stafford County, but last year he was the President of the Noxious Weed Directors statewide. Ryan, when you have a statewide organization, weeds vary in different parts of the state. Are there some that about everyone fights? (Ryan) The main one in Kansas is Field Bindweed. I think everyone has that. It’s been a problem forever. It was introduced back in the ’30’s for land erosion and it just got out of control. The next one would probably be Musk Thistle. I’m sure a lot of people remember as kids growing up, going into pastures and having to dig Musk Thistle. And those are our two worst. The one that has actually spread right now is Lespedeza, which is more in the eastern part of the state in rangeland and CRP. But it has come out west in CRP. So, that’s the three we fight mainly. (Kyle) Now state statute requires every county to have a Noxious Weed Director, but that still varies from county to county how they deal with that position. (Ryan) That’s exactly right. Everyone has it. You’re supposed to, for inspection and everything else that they do. Some have varied responsibilities besides noxious weeds; they might be road and bridge, household hazardous waste recycling. But mainly like myself, just a Noxious Weed Director. The state requires that each county have that. (Kyle) And so what would the Noxious Weed Director do in most counties or how does the Noxious Weed Director deal with noxious weeds in most counties? (Ryan) Each county has their own programs. Some will go out and custom spray in a farmer’s field. Others just supply the chemical. In statute it is the landowner’s responsibility to take care of that. So, they can come in and get some cost share. Most counties will have cost share on the chemicals of 25 to 50 percent. That all depends on mill levies and other things. Not every county does it. And every county is different. Like I say, some are required to go out…the commissioners would like them to go out and do the treatment. Others just supply the chemical. Otherwise they are responsible for the county’s ground, the right of ways and stuff like that and do the treatment there. (Kyle) There are some misperceptions of the powers of the County Weed Director and what they are required by law to do. And sometimes people misunderstand that. (Ryan) That’s exactly right. And it is one thing…it is the landowner…in statute, it is the landowner’s responsibility to take care of the noxious weeds. After an inspection the director can come out and if they’re not getting taken care of, can give warning notices and legal notices and then actually go out and have to treat that. And then it will cost the landowner that. They also can take them to court, fine them, there’s usually not jail time but it can go through the legal system and become quite a bad thing. And so we just appreciate that people will try and do that on their own. We try and work with them a lot, but if it’s not getting done, then it is the county’s responsibility and we director’s responsibility to treat that and get it taken care of. (Kyle) Visiting with Ryan Witt. Ryan is the Weed Director for Stafford County. We are visiting in Dodge City. This is Kyle Bauer reporting.
(Jamie) Thanks for joining us again at the 3i Show in Dodge City. I’m your host Jamie Bloom and I hope you enjoyed today’s show. See you next week on Farm Factor – we’re here every Tuesday on AGam in Kansas.