Haying the Right of Way
The county receives multiple requests every year to allow livestock owners to make hay in county rights of way. In 2010, the laws on mowing road rights of way changed to prohibit roadside mowing prior to July 15 of each calendar year. Mowing the right of way for hay is only allowed after July 15th of each year to allow nesting bird species, such as pheasants and other ground nesting birds, to hatch and raise their young to a size which allows them to escape the mower. Prior to July 15th, mowing is only allowed as follows:
1. Within two hundred yards of an inhabited dwelling.
2. On rights-of-way within one mile of the corporate limits of a city.
3. To promote native species of vegetation or other long-lived and adaptable vegetation.
4. To establish control of damaging insect populations, noxious weeds, and invasive plant species.
5. For visibility and safety reasons.
6. Within rest areas, weigh stations, and wayside parks.
7. Within fifty feet of a drainage tile or tile intake.
8. For access to a mailbox or for other accessibility purposes.
9. On rights-of-way adjacent to agricultural demonstration or research plots.
Mowing within Woodbury County Rights of Way requires a permit from the Woodbury County Secondary Road Department. This permit assures that you are aware of the laws surrounding roadside mowing and that you are not trespassing on a neighbors property. Since most county roads are located within county road easements, adjacent landowners have the first right to mow their right of way adjacent to their properties since they still have the underlying ownership of the property except for land use for road purposes. If you wish to mow outside tthe area fronted by your own property, you must bring a letter of permission from the adjacent landowner to the county engineer's office with your permit application. Hay bales must also be removed from the right of way witnin 24-48 hours of being baled as they create a roadside hazard for errant vehicles.
If you have questions, you can call Mark Nahra, the Woodbury County Engineer at 712-873-3215 or 712-279-6484 or Jered Jepsen, Woodbury County Weed Commissioner at 712-898-0822.