Prairie Strips*

Prairie Strips*

Prairie Strips*
Photo credits:  Omar de Kok-Mercado – Iowa State University
Photo credits: Omar de Kok-Mercado – Iowa State University

Small changes Big Impacts. Prairie strips provide a win-win scenario for farmers and wildlife. Research shows that by converting 10% of a crop-field to diverse, native perennial vegetation, farmers and landowners can reduce sediment movement off their field by 95 percent and total phosphorous and nitrogen lost through runoff by 90 and 85 percent, respectively.

I learned about prairie strips from John Koch, Director, City of Muscatine Water & Resource Recovery Facility in Iowa. Iowa is big farm country and it was brought to Jon’s attention that water runoff from farms result in significant amounts of soil sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus moving downsteam into the Mississippi River and then into the Gulf of Mexico.  Rather than tackling this one problem by building more waste water facilities to clean the runoff, Iowa State University and the STRIPS research team (Science-based Trials of Row crops Integrated with Prairie Strips) came up with another solution: Prairie Strips.  Prairie Strips are a “conservation practice that protects soil and water while providing habitat for wildlife. Over 10 years of research have shown that integrating small amounts of native prairie into strategic locations within corn and soybean fields can yield disproportionate benefits for soil, water, and biodiversity. It is one of the most affordable and environmentally beneficial agricultural conservation practices available.

As of 2019, Iowa State University has worked with over 60 farmers and farmland owner collaborators to establish prairie strips…. Prairie strips are now eligible for cost-share via the USDA Conservation Reserve Program and over 10,000 acres have been established in 14 states since 2019. If you are a landowner interested in learning more check out this video and/or contact:STRIPS at [email protected]    And then please….GET ON THE MAP!


Prairie Strips in the Conservation Reserve Program
Prairie Strips in the Conservation Reserve Program

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