The freedom to mow roadside ditches across Minnesota will continue for at least another year.

Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill into law Friday that establishes a one-year moratorium on Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) enforcement of the state’s ditch-mowing permit on highway right-of-ways.

MnDOT’s proposed changes to the long-standing practice of mowing ditches across the state turned into a showdown at the Legislature this year, one that pitted bee lovers and conservationists against farmers and landowners, who long assumed they had a right to mow the grasses long state roads.

Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, proposed a bill that to bring a halt to the agencies permit requirements. Dayton enacted the Senate version of the bill, which calls for a moratorium until May of 2018, excluding county and township roads. It was a compromise version of Swedzinski’s bill, which called for a permanent ban on mowing permits.

“I’m really happy with Gov. Dayton deciding to sign this bill,” Swedzinski said. “We’re really hoping the governor and the Department of Transportation come to their senses and work with agriculture to move forward and hopefully just keep the status quo.”

Josephine Marcotty