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Lincoln County Weed & Pest encouraging people to pull dyer’s woad weed June 21-23 for money

Lincoln County Weed & Pest Director Travis Osmond is encouraging adults and children to pull dyers woad weed June 21-23 to earn some money.

He says they will pay $0.50 per pound and is a great opportunity for young people to earn some money for school.

“I want every kid in Star Valley, in Cokeville, in Kemmerer, in Labarge, everywhere in Lincoln County to come to my office Monday morning the 21st (of June),” Osmond said. “Grab some bags and go out and pull some dyers woad.”

He says he has also seen some children come pulling a wagon behind their bike full of the plant. He says some kids make $800 to $1000 every year with the efforts they put in pulling the noxious weed.

The reason behind this push is because of the danger dyers woad presents to the environment in Lincoln County. Osmond says it is not a native plant and so it can take over the landscape because it propagates freely and out competes the other vegetation.

“If you go over to the Europe, Asia area you can find it growing wild,” Osmond said. “It’s kept in check (there). It has insects, different soil fungus, atmospheric conditions that keep it in check, it doesn’t allow it to spread, but here we don’t have those environmental conditions.”

He says one dyers woad can produce over 30,000 seeds and it can sit in the soil for up to 50 years.

“So if I don’t pick that plant then that means my grandkids are going to pick the plants that germinate from that seed,” Osmond said.

He says it is just starting to bloom locally. He says if you head over to Cokeville and go towards Montpelier you can it is the bright yellow plant that is both sides of the road.

He worked with Highlands Cooperative Weed Management to try and get funds to help fight dyers woad. What he proposed to them is specifically identifying community support and so he has also now teamed up with the Star Valley High School football team.

“I was laying in bed one night and all of a sudden, as most people is Star Valley do, Coach (McKay) Young comes right to their brain,” Osmond said. “I sit up and I’m like ‘I need to call him in the morning’ because I just thought you know those football teams they got to exercise, those kids are tough, conditioning.

“What better way for those kids to condition, one, but then provide this wonderful community service, two and get paid for it.”

Young was grateful to receive the call because he says right now they get about 80 players per night that come in to lift weights.

“We try to invent artificial work to get in shape, so what better way than to actually go out and do real work,” Young said. “That’s something that we feel like that has made Star Valley Football so good for a century now is we got good, hardworking pioneer stock here in this valley.”

He says hiking around in the hills and doing some hard work is a great opportunity for them. He also says some of the players are excited because they’re going to get in hunting shape as well. They will work specifically at the Idaho, Wyoming border to try and prevent it from coming into the county.

Osmond says he is really grateful to have the help of Star Valley Football and he hopes what he is doing can serve as a blueprint for other counties and states.

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