Spring means the grass is getting greener, which ultimately means weeds will be making themselves known. The County of Grande Prairie is working to help acreage owners learn how to control or deal with noxious and prohibited noxious weeds through the Acreage Owner Pesticide Program.
County Agricultural Fieldman Sonja Raven explains those who own under 40 acres of land are unable to get ag-status chemicals, leaving them with limited options; adding most options easily available is usually not the most effective. She explains the course, which is offered not just in the county but several municipalities across the province, was developed in conjunction with the Alberta environment with the county being one of the pilot regions.
“What it is, is when the municipality advises a rural acreage that they have prohibited or noxious weeds on their property, then we can encourage them to take this program through Lakeland College,” Raven says.
The course is $75 to take, and at the end, those who take it will receive a certificate after passing a “knowledge test.” Raven says once the online course is completed, property owners can talk with the agriculture fieldman and discuss the next steps.
“At that point, we can determine how much they will need, we would premix it for them and then they can go and effectively deal with their regulated weeds.”
Raven adds the hope from the environmental standpoint is people will get away from the thought process of “Well my neighbour has a jug of this so I will try that,” or even getting the neighbour to come over and deal with the weeds.
“When you tell people okay you have to fix this, but I’m sorry there is no tool, people are going to try to fix it however they can fix it,” Raven says. “So what [the program] also does is it increases awareness of all the safety and regulation around application around herbicides, that it is not just pour some in a jug, pour in some water and then knock your socks off. It is actually quite tightly regulated and controlled with the focus on safety being very very high.”
Raven says the course through Lakeland College will take a few hours to do online, with participants learning the basics such as how herbicides work, how to safely apply them, and what other options are available. More information on the Acreage Owner Pesticide Program can be found on the county’s website.