The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is now accepting applications for the first round of the Fiscal Year 2020 Noxious Weeds and Invasive Plant Grant program. Counties, municipalities, townships, conservation districts, and tribal nations are encouraged to apply for the grants. Level 1 grants are up to $10,000 and level 2between $10,001 and $50,000 over two years.

I can easily think of two weed species that I would like to see eradicated with funds from this program. How about buckthorn that has taken over many wooded areas. Buckthorn is the overwintering host for the soybean aphids. Remove the buckthorn and farmers do not have to scout for and apply insecticides to control them when they get to threshold levels.

The other noxious weed I would like to see eradicated is wild parsnip. Wild parsnip has taken over in many road ditches and conservation areas. It does not cause any problems in corn and soybeans but it is a nasty aggressive weed. If you touch the weed and get some of the oil on your skin you will get a very bad burn that can even leave scars.

To apply for the MDA's Noxious Weed and Invasive Plant grant program go to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture web site or contact Emilie Justin, emile.justen@state.mn.us. The deadline is 4:00 pm on November 26, 2019.