WSR 06-23-109

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


[ Filed November 17, 2006, 10:26 a.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: The department is considering implementing a weed-free forage certification program.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: Chapters 17.10, 17.24, and 34.05 RCW.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: The department has been requested by county weed regulators and the Washington Hay Growers Association to provide voluntary certification services for weed-free forage. Certified weed-free forage is regarded as a means of reducing the spread of nonnative, invasive weed species and also as a market opportunity for interested hay growers. Recently, the United States Forest Service has adopted a weed-free forage policy that requires all forage brought into forest service lands to be certified weed-free. These rules would enable the department to conduct a voluntary, fee-for-service certification program for hay, mulch and straw. Such a program would benefit Washington growers and reduce the threat of invasive plants within the state.

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: None.

Process for Developing New Rule: Department staff will discuss any proposed amendments with affected stakeholders. Affected stakeholders will also have an opportunity to submit written comments on the proposed rules during the public comment period and will be able to present oral testimony at the public hearing.

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Mary A. Martin Toohey, Assistant Director, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Plant Protection Division, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, phone (360) 902-1907, fax (360) 902-2094, e-mail mtoohey@agr.wa.gov; or Tom Wessels, Program Manager, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Plant Protection Division, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, phone (360) 902-1984, fax (360) 902-2094, e-mail twessels@agr.wa.gov.

November 14, 2006

Mary A. Martin Toohey

Assistant Director

Washington State Code Reviser's Office