An increased demand for native grasses and flower seeds outstripped the available supply this past year. As a result, local producers had to purchase seeds from out of state. It is believed these out-of-state seeds introduced Palmer Amaranth to the Midwest, including Minnesota.
Palmer Amaranth is a weed that can grow six to eight feet tall and can produce 250,000 seeds. It is detrimental to corn, soybeans, and other crops. As a result of its hardiness, it can lower crop yields and increase the cost to farmers relative to equipment and herbicides.
In response, a proposal heard in committee would prohibit the enforcement of buffers until seeds used for water quality protection practices are available that are grown and processed in Minnesota. The Department of Agriculture testified with concerns with this legislation because a limited seed supply could increase seeds costs and result in inexperienced entities taking advantage of the market. (SF 835)