- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—Cass County farmers who carry out agricultural duties too close to public roads have forced local officials to take action.

The Cass County commissioners unanimously passed an ordinance prohibiting farming and agricultural operations in the right of way of county roads or within 5 feet of where the pavement starts on them. That includes end rows and turning around equipment when working in fields.

“The purpose of this ordinance is to prevent farming/agricultural operations from damaging and/or destroying Cass County public roads,” according to the document.

Violators are subject to a daily fine of up to $500 for each day an infraction persists.

Cass County Commissioner Jeff LeDonne said these kinds of practices aren’t widespread, adding there are “just a few individuals” officials are hoping to deter.

“They plow up to the edge of the road and we don’t want that,” he said, adding it also prevents side ditches from airing out properly.

Cass County Commissioner Jim Sailors agreed.

“We’ve had people in part of the county who have been farming within 6 inches of the road for a long time,” he said, adding it’s drawn complaints from residents.

Jeff Smith, superintendent of the Cass County Highway Department, said corn planted too close to intersections can create visibility problems as well.

When crops are planted that close, farmers have to use the road to turn around their equipment before heading back into the field.

“By nature, there’s a lot of mud and dirt that gets tracked out onto the road,” Smith said, “then that generates complaints from the public that has to drive through it.”

It can also be unsafe, LeDonne said.

“They get their equipment out there and they use it for end rows,” he said. “When they turn out on the road, they bring mud out there and it’s dangerous.”

Sailors shared a similar sentiment.

“It’s not safe to be making your turns out on the county roads when people are trying to go down the road,” he said.

Reach Mitchell Kirk at [email protected] or 574-732-5130


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