Palmer amaranth and Waterhemp are both very destructive and difficult to control and are not currently listed as prohibited noxious weed seeds in Wisconsin. This means it is currently not a violation for these weed seeds to be distributed in seed mixes in Wisconsin. Adjacent states, including Iowa, are facing the emergence of these herbicide-resistant weeds due to the distribution of seed mixes that included these weeds. These weeds spread quickly and are extremely difficult to eradicate, risking cropland and crop production.
Rule Content
Adding Palmer amaranth and Waterhemp to the list of “Prohibited noxious weed seeds in ATCP 20 will prohibit the distribution of these weed seeds as part of pure seed or seed mixtures in Wisconsin. Implementation of this rule will help protect Wisconsin’s cropland by prohibiting the introduction of noxious weed seeds, Palmer amaranth and Waterhemp.
If this rule is not enacted, Wisconsin will be continue to be vulnerable to an inadvertent introduction of these noxious weed seeds, as experienced by Iowa with the introduction of palmer amaranth, which damaged thousands of acres of cropland this year.
Summary of Factual Data and Analytical Methodologies
Data related to Palmer amaranth and Waterhemp was obtained by the Department from other states agriculture agencies currently being negatively impacted by these noxious weed seeds, including Minnesota and Iowa, through communication and observations by Department program staff.
Analysis and Supporting Documents used to Determine Effect on Small Business
Department staff utilized current licensing information for seed labelers in Wisconsin, as well as the Wisconsin Crop Improvement Association (WCIA) and the Wisconsin Agribusiness Association (WABA) to solicit feedback on the concept of prohibiting these weed seeds in seed labeled in Wisconsin. There was no opposition to these additions to the prohibited weed seed list.
Business Impact
The Department expects the proposed rule to have minimal economic impact.
Environmental Impact
This rule will assist in limiting the spread of noxious weed seeds in Wisconsin. Palmer amaranth and Waterhemp have caused crop devastation in other states, including in the adjacent state of Iowa. Prohibiting these noxious weed seeds in Wisconsin will have a positive environmental impact.
Federal and Surrounding State Programs
This rule proposal would update the Federal Seed Act (7 USC 1511-1611) which governs the labeling of agricultural seed intended for interstate commerce. The list of State Noxious-Weed Seed Requirements Recognized in the Administration of the Federal Seed Act would be updated to reflect our changes.
DATCP Contact
The Department will hold a public hearing on this rule on a date to be determined (The Department will publish a hearing notice in the Wisconsin administrative register). Questions and comments related to this rule, including hearing comments, may be directed to:
Greg Helmbrecht
Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
P.O. Box 8911
Madison, WI 53708-8911
Telephone: (608) 224-4596
  SECTION 1. ATCP 20.01(27) is amended to read:
(27) “Prohibited noxious weed seeds” means the seeds of weeds that are highly destructive and difficult to control by good cultural practices and use of herbicides. “Prohibited noxious weed seeds” includes: Amaranthus palmeri (Palmer amaranth), Amaranthus tuberculatus (Waterhemp), convolvulus arvensis (field bindweed), euphorbia esula (leafy spurge), cirsium arvense (Canada thistle), panicum miliaceum (wild proso millet), eriochloa villosa (woolly cupgrass), pueraria montana var. lobate (kudzu), polygonum perfoliatum (mile-a-minute weed), centaurea picris (Russian knapweed), and centaurea maculos (spotted knapweed).
SECTION 2. EFFECTIVE DATE: This rule takes effect on the first day of the month following publication in the Wisconsin administrative register, as provided in s. 227.22(2)(intro.), Stats.
Links to Admin. Code and Statutes in this Register are to current versions, which may not be the version that was referred to in the original published document.