A five-year proposal regarding the baling of hay grown at Hannibal Regional Airport was presented during Thursday morning's meeting of the airport advisory board.

A five-year proposal regarding the baling of hay grown at Hannibal Regional Airport was presented during Thursday morning's meeting of the airport advisory board.

In making their proposal, Bruce and Dick Smith expressed concern over weeds, specifically thistles, that are appearing in the approximately 33-acre area in which they hope to continue growing hay.

"You need to address weed control," said Bruce Smith. "Thistles are not good for you or me."

While the Smiths are willing to pick up the cost of fertilizing the area in which they plan to grow hay, they believe the selection of the weed-killing chemical and its cost should be the responsibility of the city. However, they did note that they have the equipment necessary to apply whatever chemical the city might decide to use on the weeds.

Asked how many chemical applications might be required, Dick Smith suggested it could take two applications, but he did not rule out a third.

George Walley of the airport advisory board, said any agreement would have to take into consideration that if federal money were to become available for a runway extension the hay-growing area to the north of the current runway would be reduced. Walley also mentioned the need for hay bales to be removed out of certain key areas in timely fashion. Bruce Smith said their practice has been to remove any hay bales by the end of each day.

Robin Carroll, the airport's fixed base operator, praised the Smiths, stating that they are "conscientious" of airport operations.

Karen Burditt, the city's finance director, asked for a price estimate regarding what the weed-killing chemical might cost. She was told it could run approximately $150 per application.

Because it is solely advisory in nature the board could take no action on the Smiths' proposal Thursday. Burditt explained that a contract would have to be drafted and approved by the city council.

Also a topic of discussion with the Smiths was the reclaiming of an area near the southern end of the runway which has brush and weeds growing.

"The brush is part of our wildlife problem," said board member Greg Baugher.

"It will bring deer back if we don't get it under control," added Walley.

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com