- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 5, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - It’s illegal to mow ditches along South Dakota highways in early summer but officials say they can’t recall filing any charges against people who break the law.

The Argus Leader reports (http://argusne.ws/29vCq9M ) the rule requiring landowners to let the grass grow until July 10 is meant to offer natural cover for pheasant chicks. But some farmers mow anyway to make hay.

State Department of Transportation spokesman Darin Bergquist said the agency gets calls about unauthorized mowing and notifies local sheriffs. But Berquist said he’s not aware of anyone ever being charged for illegal mowing.

Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead said it’s rare to get a report about illegal mowing. He said a mowing complaint is handled with a warning or an explanation about the rules.

“We have no plan to haul a farmer to jail because they mowed a ditch too early,” Milstead said.

Maj. Rick Miller of the South Dakota Highway Patrol said the illegal mowing complaint is similar to a complaint about a reckless driver because a trooper needs to see the act violation happening in order for the person to get a ticket.

“If we see it, we address it,” Miller said, but “it’s not like we’re driving around looking for it.”

Transportation department mowers do not drive department vehicles when they are along the highways, so the public may think that there is a violation happening.

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Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com

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