Corn stalks saving tax dollars, increasing road safety in Franklin County

FRANKLIN CO., OH (WCMH) — Driving in the winter months can be challenging, even dangerous, but one product of the summer months is making that easier – and saving taxpayer money in the process.

“One of my superintendents read an article about Iowa farmers keeping their corn stalks up along the roadsides to help drifting snow,” recalls Franklin County Engineer Dean Ringle. “We thought, ‘Why couldn’t we do that here?’”

So they did.

More than 20 miles of 18 inch or taller corn stalks remain along Franklin County’s rural roads throughout 77 locations. The corn stalks occupy space that would normally be protected by plastic fencing, saving roughly $140,000 while preventing strong winds from blowing mass amounts of snow onto rural roads.

36 Franklin County farmers participate in the program, including Hilliard’s Gary Dever.

“I think it’s a plus when you can save someone a little bit of money and get a little reimbursement for doing it,” says Dever, who has farmed all of his life.

The project began in 2000 and saw rapid growth over its first few years. The growth has recently slowed, but not declined, as the Franklin County Engineer’s Office gains a better grasp of the areas where the project is applicable.

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