Commissioner Says Weed Inspections Can Victimize Farmers

TECUMSEH – Johnson County Commissioner Scotty Gottula told a state weed control officer Tuesday that he and other farmers have been victimized by relentless inspections and said the state may be holding the bar too high when it judges county weed control programs.

Johnson County Weed Superintendent Mike Davison received a perfect score from the Nebraska Weed Control Association, but Mike Moyer of the state’s agricultural department said the county is still below the minimum requirement.

He said it would be better if the weed superintendent did not have other jobs competing for his time.

The county’s only point deduction was due to four cases that remain open after an initial weed complaint. County Commissioner Les Agena pointed out that counties would typically have open cases since the weed inspections are done year to year.

Gottula said Johnson County does its best to follow state law regarding noxious weed control, but said even though he dealt with infestation and had records to prove regular and costly spraying, his ground in Pawnee County was subjected to continual inspections.

Gottula: “I was the victim of that system. I’m sitting in this chair and going, ‘I’m really tired of being the victim of this system.
‘Well, we don’t intend for it to be that way, but some times it seems like it comes out that way. And I heard other people that go out and spray, but it seems like they just keep getting hammered, and hammered and hammered.”

Tecumseh farmer Arlen Beethe followed with questions for Moyer about weeds along state roads. He said the state is not eradicating sericia lespedeza in its own right of way, but comes to Johnson County with demands on farmers there.

Moyer said the Johnson County Board has authority to enforce weed laws.

Moyer: “On state right of way, it’s still the county board’s regulatory authority to control those weeds.
Gottula: ‘Oh, we’re going to the county attorney.’
Moyer: “So, if the county or you have a problem with weeds in the right of way on state road, you need to contact these three fellows. This is one situation where the county has authority over the state to control those weeds.”

Johnson County’s weed control scored 3,200, which is 300 points higher than the state average. Moyer said a score of 3,400 is considered meeting the minimum state standards.

Moyer: “One of the main reasons to control noxious weeds in the state is for economic impact. If you have a noxious weed that is, for example, taking over a pasture and taking over your grass, you can put fewer head out there.”

He said other weeds like phragmites, salt cedar and purple loosestrife can impact the impact of water.

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