Farmers are hearing a lot in the news about the proposed law requiring that landowners will have to apply for a permit to mow the road ditch along state highways. In addition, mowing would not be permitted during the primary nesting season. Apparently this proposed law applies only to state highways, not county or township roads. This proposed law is not being received very well by landowners for a number reasons.

Many of the state highway ditches are cut for hay a couple of times during the summer. If the ditch is not cut until later in the summer, it would be very coarse and mature, meaning it would have very little feed value for cattle. Then there are some farmsteads that are close to the road. Many times when the owners are mowing their lawns they will mow a portion of the road ditch in front of their farmstead. Driving down the road it is nice to see a well-kept and mowed farmstead.

Even though I might own the property, including the road ditch, I will have to apply and pay for a permit to cut the road ditch. If someone else applies for a permit along my farm before I do, then they can cut my road ditch. Then there are weeds. Landowners are required by counties to control noxious weeds on their property. Wild parsnip is a nasty weed that you see growing in many road ditches. If you touch the weed with your bare skin, the oils in the weed will burn your skin. How are you supposed to control noxious weeds if you cannot spray or mow them?