Illinois law authorizes the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to issue permits allowing hay to be harvested and switchgrass to be produced on specified rights-of-way, according to Kevin Rund, Illinois Farm Bureau transportation specialist.
“Permits will be issued on a case-by-case basis following the appropriate application by farmers,” Rund said.
Interested farmers should contact their district IDOT office. District office locations are online at www.dot.state.il.us/idotmap.html
Rund knew of only three cases over the 3-year life of the program in which farmers asked for a copy of the application form, but no applications were filed and no permits were issued.
A non-refundable $40 application fee was established in the law, which law includes several specific restrictions and requirements. These include:
Until July 30, the adjacent landowner or his designee has first priority to receive a permit for the portion of right-of-way adjacent to his property. After that date, a permit may be issued to a non-adjacent landowner.
Permits may be issued to an individual for up to 5 linear miles of right-of-way and would be valid from July 15 through Sept. 15.
Permit applicants must demonstrate they have liability insurance of not less than $1 million to cover any accident, damage, or property loss.
The permit holder cannot alter, damage, or remove any markers, fences, signs, trees, shrubs, or other vegetation or highway structures.
A permit holder must notify IDOT at least 48 hours before starting to cut hay and must carry the permit with him at all times while harvesting the hay.
A copy of the hay/switchgrass application form is available for download above.