Gov. Mark Dayton has signed a bill that places a one-year moratorium on the Minnesota Department of Transportation from requiring, issuing or enforcing permits to mow or bale in state highway right-of-ways until April 30, 2018.
The bill also requires MnDOT to work with agricultural and environmental groups in the coming months to develop recommendations on a permit or notification system for mowing and baling in the highway right-of-ways. These recommendations, which will be required to include ease of permit application or notification, frequency of permits or notifications, and give priority to the owner or occupant of private land adjacent to trunk highways, must be presented to the legislature no later than March 1, 2018.
The Farmer first reported MnDOT’s ditch mowing permit process and permit conditions in December. The department’s detailed list of requirements for landowners who bale hay on state highway right-of-way land included items such as:
• performing work in a manner to the satisfaction of the MnDOT authorized representative
• not mowing in designated “No Mowing" areas, wetlands, landscape planting areas or other areas identified by the MnDOT authorized representative
• cleaning mowing and haying equipment prior to entry and before leaving MnDOT right-of-way to prevent the spread of weeds and invasive species
• requiring persons performing permitted work to wear high-visibility safety apparel when outside of any vehicle within MnDOT right-of-ways
• not mowing or haying, or removing bales between sunset and sunrise
• requiring equipment used for mowing and baling to have amber warning lights and slow-moving vehicle markers, and operating the warning lights while working in ditches
• removing hay bales no later than five days after baling, unless approved by MnDOT
• removing all equipment daily from MnDOT right-of-ways