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County Board discusses noxious weed report

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The Gage County Board of Supervisors discussed an evaluation of the county’s noxious weeds during Wednesday’s regular meeting.

Gage County scored 2,938 points out of a possible 3,400 on the report from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

Weed superintendent Becky Borgman said the primary reason for the lower score was that required continuing education standards were not met.

“It looks like the only thing I got docked for this year was education,” she said, “You have to have 20 hours of continuing education, with COVID they only had two dates available this year. One was in February in North Platte and I couldn’t get to that, then they had one in July or August and I made it to that one so I did not have two dates full. Usually they have four opportunities.”

Borgman said she found 15 new problem spots in the areas of Filley and Logan townships, and added one challenge in recent years has been contacting landowners about any issues that need to be addressed.

“I need to get out there a little bit more and make sure I get in contact better with some of the landowners,” she said. “You can’t find phone numbers for a lot of them anymore so you just have to send letters. Getting a response is sometimes hard.”

There are 12 noxious weeds that have been deemed harmful or destructive to the area. According to the Department of Agriculture’s website, noxious weeds compete with pasture and crops, reducing yields substantially. Some noxious weeds are poisonous to people, livestock, and Losses resulting from noxious weed infestations can cost residents millions of dollars due to lost production.

This not only directly affects the landowner, but erodes the tax base for all residents of the state.

While Gage County was docked points on the overall score due to missing the education requirement, County Board Chairman Erich Tiemann pointed out there are no ramifications for the county.

“Along with this dock, there’s no fines, no penalties, nothing that goes along with this,” he said. “This is kind of a roadmap and a goal for us to work towards.”

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