A bill that places a moratorium on the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s (MnDOT) authority to set up a permitting process allowing farmers to mow and bale hay in highway rights-of-way under the department’s authority passed the Senate floor Thursday. The moratorium is in effect until April 30, 2018. The moratorium is meant to give stakeholders time to work out a mutually agreeable system for the future.
This issue has been controversial at the Legislature over the past few years. The issue gained new urgency, however, when late last year, MnDOT announced a new permitting system and uniform rules to follow. This has led to many farmers being upset with what are seen as new restrictions on their ability to mow and hay rights-of-way. The law restrictions on the seasonality of mowing and baling have been on the books since the 1980s, but the laws were not being followed by farmers or enforced by the department. (SF 218)