Iowa farmers help keep Iowa roads clear

Posted December 30, 2019 at 5:26 pm

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Good partnerships benefit all those involved. Over the years, the Iowa Department of Transportation has developed some unique solutions to improve wintertime mobility and highway safety using partnerships with dozens of farmers statewide.

In the 1980s, DOT field forces began working with farmers with property along state highways in areas where the terrain is open and flat to create the standing corn program. The partnerships involved the farmer planting corn that can be left in fields during the winter to serve as snow fences that slow down or stop snow from blowing and drifting across the road. More recently, this cooperative effort has included using round bales as snow fences as well.

In exchange for leaving the corn in the field or moving round bales into place, the Iowa DOT paid farmers $5.60 per bushel this year for leaving six to 24 rows standing. The typical payment amount is $2 above the statewide average corn price on Aug. 1. For round bales, the payment is $1 per linear foot. The landowner agrees to leave the bales intact in the field throughout the winter.

Craig Bargfrede, Iowa DOT’s winter operations administrator, said, “Research from the Strategic Highway Safety Program shows it costs 100 times more to plow snow than to trap it

(Information from Transportation Matters for Iowa blog from the Iowa Department of Transportation,

Please see this week’s edition of the West Lyon Herald for the full story.