For more than a decade David Weissing has mowed and tended the ditch along Highway 14 where his family lives in Winona County, lopping off the heads of invasive plants such as thistle and wild parsnip because he doesn’t want chemicals sprayed there.
Like six other farmers in the region, he had a metal “Do Not Spray” sign posted to remind maintenance crews of that — until a Minnesota Department of Transportation crew yanked it without warning last month.
The no-spray agreements in that part of the state were being terminated, they told him. Now, MnDOT officials say that is not the case, and blame the mix-up on muddled communication while it re-examines the program.
“It was sort of the cart before the horse,” said agency spokesman Michael Dougherty.
The sign-pulling is the latest conflict over the vital network of ditches crisscrossing Minnesota. Two years ago MnDOT hosted a statewide