In the interest of road safety, the City uses strategically placed snow fences to form a snow drift away from roadways, reducing costs associated with snow removal. Without snow fences, the city sometimes has to scrape and modify ditches to create a ridge for drifts to form over, which deteriorates our ditches and can damage the roads. Natural snow fences have been found to be as effective as wood-slat snow fencing, without the costs of installing, removing, repairing, replacing and storing traditional snow fences.
The Alternate Snow Fence Program was created to encourage farmers to leave 6 to 12 rows of corn standing. Farmers are compensated based on several factors, namely the market value per tonne of harvested corn, but also the yield of tonnes per acre and measurement of the actual acres standing. However, the rate at which farmers were reimbursed decreased from 2.5 times the market value to only the market value. This resulted in it being far less economical for farmers to participate in this program.
To make it worthwhile for farmers, I have instructed staff to investigate the feasibility of increasing rates at which farmers are compensated today at the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. The Alternate Snow Fence Program is a creative solution that has the potential to save the city money on snow fences, benefit farmers, and make roads safer in the winter. Staff will also look at other options in place of wood-slat snow fences.