DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – As farmers in west central 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 and federal 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. MnDOT compensation in the past with land owners ranges from $1,000 to $2,000 dollars depending on the severity of the blowing and drifting snow problem and average daily traffic counts in the area being protected. 

“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 4 in west central Minnesota is currently working with a number of farmers. Standing corn rows sections, hay bales and temporary snow fencing can be seen in west central Minnesota along Interstate 94 and Highways 10, 34, 108, 336 and others. A video of the corn rows on I-94 in the winter is available at https://youtu.be/BTnNnrUMOu8

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 in west central Minnesota who want more information about the standing corn row program can contact Kohl Skalin at Kohl.Skalin@state.mn.us or 218-846-7943. Additional information about the program is at mndot.gov/d4/snowfence andmndot.gov/environment/livingsnowfence/.

To view live video footage of the snow fence located at I-94/Highway 336 in Moorhead, visit https://app.truelook.com/?u=ss1548886211.