A couple of Missouri farmers are being paid by the state Transportation Department to do some of the department’s cleanup work.
The department is running a couple of pilot projects–in Saline and Shelby Counties—to see if farmers can be hired to mow the roadside grass. The two farmers are mowing more than 40 miles of shoulders.
Department outreach coordinator Melissa Black says the test will determine if this is something the department wants to do statewide. She says the program will free up department crews to do work directly on the roads while giving the farmers some extra money.
The department is paying the farmers a total of $10,500 to keep the shoulders from being too shaggy…They’ll mow the shoulders a couple of times. They use their own equipment
Mowing the rights of way is not small-change stuff. The Department says it spent more than 18-million dollars and more than one-half million man-hours on mowing last year.
The department has, in the past, allowed hay farmers to harvest hay in the medians. But has never before paid farmers for anything for weed and grass control.