MnDOT encourages farmers to join standing corn rows program while planning spring planting
ROCHESTER, Minn. – As farmers in southeast Minnesota finalize their seed purchases and spring planting plans, the Minnesota Department of Transportation asks growers to consider joining the standing corn rows program to help control blowing and drifting snow on state highways.
MnDOT pays farmers on a per acre basis to leave standing corn rows on selected state roads in areas that are eligible for the program. A typical standing corn row treatment is about a quarter-mile long and one acre in size, with 12 rows of corn left standing parallel with the highway. Minimum compensation to the landowner is about $1,000 per acre for a winter season of blowing snow control protection.
“We want to work with farmers before spring planting to make sure they select seed varieties with insect and disease resistant traits and have stalks that will hold up well in the winter,” said Dan Gullickson, MnDOT’s snow control program coordinator.
District 6 in southeast Minnesota is currently working with 11 farmers. Standing corn rows sections, hay bales and temporary snow fencing can be seen in southeast Minnesota along highways 42, 14, 61, and others.
These “living snow fences” can be designed and constructed to fit into individual land use and farming operations. Ears of corn are allowed to be hand-picked by families, clubs, organizations and church groups.
Farmers and landowners who want more information about the standing corn row program can contact Cassie Goodnough at the District 6 MnDOT Rochester office at Cassandra.Goodnough@state.mn.us or 507-286-7681. Local contact information can be found at mndot.gov/environment/livingsnowfence/contacts.html. Additional information about the program is at mndot.gov/environment/livingsnowfence.