Can You Harvest Grass Along Highways For Forage?

Farmers who are short on hay and pasture can harvest the grass within right-of-way of highways maintained by state of Iowa.

Published on: Jul 18, 2012

Can the grass that's growing within the right-of-way of state-maintained highways be legally harvested for livestock feed? Yes, during certain periods of the year and with a permit issued by the Iowa Department of Transportation, according to state DOT officials.

Grazing is not permitted. Permits are required to access or perform any type of work within the state highway fright of way. People interested in applying for a permit should contact the Iowa DOT state office in Ames. Not all highway right of ways may be mowed, and annual permits may have been issued for some areas. Iowa DOT staff will be able to help identify available areas.

During certain periods of the year and with a permit issued by the Iowa DOT you can legally harvest the grass within the right-of-way of state highways in Iowa.
During certain periods of the year and with a permit issued by the Iowa DOT you can legally harvest the grass within the right-of-way of state highways in Iowa.

Iowa law prohibits mowing of roadside vegetation on the right of way or medians of any primary highway, interstate highway or secondary road before July 15, except:

* Within 200 yards of an inhabited dwelling
* On right-of-way within one mile of the corporate limits of a city|
* To promote native species of vegetation or other long-lived and adaptable vegetation|
* To establish control of damaging insect population, noxious weeds and invasive plant species|
* For visibility and safety reasons
* Within rest areas, weigh stations and wayside parks
* Within 50 feet of a drainage tile or tile intake
* For access to a mailbox or for other accessibility purposes
* On right of way adjacent to ag demonstration or research plots