With last year's drought, farmers were in quite the pickle over the winter to get more feed in, and stocks are likely still a bit lower than normal.

That's where the province's hay salvage program comes in, with ditches becoming open to farmers wanting to process any hay along highways.

Said grasses are available in case they need extra supplies, with provincial mowing operations sometimes taking a backseat if more hay is needed by farmers.

Steve Shaheen, the Senior Communications Consultant for the Ministry of Highways, says that was the case for the western part of the province as operations began.

"This year, for example, the western side of the province, from Kindersley down through south to swift current, they did not receive that first cut just to allow more time for producers to pull off that hay just because it's such a valuable commodity."

The program isn't just for farmers, as the clearing of grasses from ditches provides a number of benefits for all drivers.

"The annual hay salvage ditch mowing program provides many benefits, for one it provides optimal snow storage for the winter months with reduced drifts on the road surface," said Shaheen, "An improved, neat appearance which improves visibility of signs in the summer months, better control of brush or noxious weeds, as well as safe intersections for highway crews by maintainig acceptable sight distances.

Even in years when farmers aren't so desperate for hay, the government still makes sure that those ditches will be clear.

"I think it is an important program, and it's one that producers seem to take advantage of, particularly in those years where there are drier conditions. During wet winter years, sometimes when hay is not at such a premium," said Shaheen, "Still have contractors that go out and mow those ditches to ensure that there are proper sightlines and the removal of some of the noxious weeds that are in those ditches."