Northwest Iowa — While we can’t keep it from blowing, there are ways to influence the winter wind that carries tons of blowing and drifting snow. Periodically, severe winter storms will create large snow drifts that close roads and driveways, isolate farmsteads and increase snowplowing. Many of these drifting problems happen in the same place year after year.
Snow fences have been used for generations. But there are more kinds of snow fence than the typical wood lath and orange plastic. One of those is made of standing rows of corn.
We talked to Iowa DOT Winter Operations Administrator Craig Bargfrede about their corn snow fence program. He says it’s a program that they’ve run for a number of years.
And he says that results in a cost savings to the DOT and the taxpayer.
Bargfrede tells us what to do if you are a farmer with land along a state highway who’s interested in participating in the program.
He says some farmers give away the corn in the spring to FFA, 4-H, or other organizations.
According to Bargfrede, they are looking for corn snow fence along all state highways in northwest Iowa, but especially around known drifting trouble spots — and usually on the north side of east-west highways and along the west side of north-south highways, as winter winds normally blow from the north and west.
While corn has already been harvested from some fields, he says the DOT would be interested in talking to farmers for next year as well. He says you can just call him at 515-290-2713 and he will help you get in touch with the person who handles the program at the local level.