Farmers speak to MnDOT about mowing and haying policies - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Farmers speak to MnDOT about mowing and haying policies

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -

People in the Rochester area are speaking out about a move that infuriated a lot of farmers in Minnesota. 

MnDOT implemented a permit system to regulate who can mow grass in roadside ditches to produce hay for their cattle. 

Because of this pushback, the legislature ordered MnDOT to halt any regulation and host listening sessions with communities across the state about the practice. 

On Wednesday, MnDOT gave the public a chance to voice their concerns at a listening session at its Rochester headquarters. 

MnDOT officials say those roadside ditches serve a lot of purposes for both farmers and drivers.

"Well we can mow that, bale the hay and feed our stock, or we can not mow it and it provides great habitat for creatures," said Kevin Gutknecht, MnDOT Communications Director. "But it has an important road safety purpose as well. The roadside ditches provide a place for cars if they run off the road, they have a place where they can maybe come to a stop safely."

This was the last of nine sessions conducted this past fall. 

MnDOT will then use the feedback to come up with recommendations for the legislature next February. 

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