Last summer, Palmer amaranth was confirmed in Minnesota for the first time. Some landowners in southwestern Minnesota bought some "pollinator seed" from outstate and it was contaminated with Palmer amaranth seed. Palmer amaranth is a member of the pig weed family, as is waterhemp. Waterhemp is getting to be a very difficult weed to control. As tough as it is to control waterhemp, weed scientists have described Palmer amaranth as waterhemp on steroids!

This afternoon I received a news release from the Senate Republican Communications Department that House File 1545, the agriculture finance bill, includes $850,000 in the 2017 budget to combat Palmer amaranth. The Senate File 844 environment budget bill  requires that conservation seed be certified by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to be free of noxious weeds. State Sen. Rich Draheim (R-Madison Lake) was one of the strong advocates of strong Palmer amaranth protection.

We seem to be in a political climate where our two major parties have difficulty agreeing on many issues. At least we can agree on trying to keep Palmer amaranth from getting established in Minnesota. The weed has gotten so bad in some of the southern states that I saw a picture of farm workers pulling Palmer amaranth by hand, putting it on a wagon to be hauled off the field and burned! Is anyone else old enough to remember walking beans and pulling weeds?

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