Mowing and haying in highway right of way
MnDOT’s 12,000 miles of roadway incorporates more than 255,000 acres of state land, including 175,000 acres of green space.
All of this land is known as right of way. Much of this land is adjacent to state roadways in the form of ditches or medians between four-lane roads.
State law requires MnDOT to manage right of way mowing, which includes cutting in advance of haying. As a result, MnDOT adopted a statewide standard for mowing and haying in the right of way and has developed a user-friendly permit application. Permits are issued on a first come first serve basis. However, landowners who want to mow on right of way adjacent to their property should make sure their permit application is received by MnDOT before the last day of February for first consideration. Beginning March 1, all others may apply for permits for any portion of the state right of way.
The permit provides information on when and where mowing and haying can occur, safety measures required and how long hay can be left in the right of way. MnDOT has partnered with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to enforce the permit requirement. By state law, it is a misdemeanor to mow on state highway right of way without a permit.
The 2017 Minnesota Legislature established a moratorium on enforcing permits to mow or bale hay in the right-of-way of a trunk highway. Additionally, the Legislature required the Commissioner of Transportation to recommend to the legislature the establishment of a permit or notification system to mow or hay in the trunk highway right-of-way.
MnDOT has developed a stakeholder group to review the challenges with administering this law as it relates to the various interests. MnDOT also organized nine informational listening sessions across the state in each MnDOT district to learn what the public thought of this issue and what it wanted the legislation to be.
With the information learned from the listening sessions, the stakeholder group's recommendations were completed in late February 2018.