Iowa uses Corn Rows to Keep Snow Off Highways

Iowa uses Corn Rows to Keep Snow Off Highways

The Iowa Department of Transportation is paying dozens of Iowa farmers to leave rows of corn that can create snow barriers along highways.

KCRG-TV reports the state agency has about 70 contracts with farmers.

Agency transportation planner Cathy Cutler said the corn acts as a natural barrier, keeping the snow off highways.

"What we'll do is work with local farmers that have corn crops and ask them to leave anywhere from four to ten rows of the corn as you are closest to the road," Cutler said.

The farmers are paid a little more than they would earn from the corn, and they still can harvest the rows in the spring.

Dean Williams, who farms near Vinton, participates in the program. He said he left eight rows of corn standing, and it's caused up to 4 feet of snow to pile up in the stalks, keeping Highway 150 clearer.

Williams said motorists have noticed the difference along his fields.

"The people that drive from Vinton to Cedar Rapids every day — I've had quite a few people tell me that it makes a big difference," Williams said.

Other states, including Minnesota, have similar programs.


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