STRIPS stands for Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips. The project is composed of a team of scientists, educators, and extension specialists who have chosen to work together on the use of prairie strips as a farmland conservation practice. We strive to more fully understand the assembly, management, function, and value of prairie strips; to communicate our results to diverse audiences; and to assist others with the implementation of prairie strips on farm fields. Our initial research site is located at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge near Prairie City, Iowa. We are now implementing and maintaining research and demonstration sites across the Midwest, including on private commercial farms.
We strive to more fully understand the assembly, management, function, and value of prairie strips; to communicate our results to diverse audiences; and to assist others with the implementation of prairie strips on farm fields.
We envision a future in which prairie strips are integrated with other agricultural conservation practices to foster the production of healthy food and sustainable fuel, and the protection and maintenance of clean water, resilient soils, and diverse and abundant wildlife and beneficial insects. We regard our project as an important way to make farming and environmental quality harmonious. Results of our research at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge indicate this vision can be achieved, but additional research, education, and extension are needed to develop and implement it on commercial farms throughout Iowa and the Midwestern U.S.
Let the overall objective of resilient and sustainable agricultural landscapes guide our work
Seek collective wisdom and broad support by incorporating multiple perspectives: listen to and learn from a diversity of collaborators, including team members, farmer/farm landowner adopters, and other stakeholders
Let the science speak: while the project has expanded to include outreach and technical assistance, we are fundamentally a research project at our core (SCIENCE-based Trials of Row-crops Integrated with Prairie Strips)
Promote open communication within the STRIPS team and with stakeholders regarding new findings, team priorities, participants’ roles and responsibilities, and funding
Promote collaboration and efficiency by sharing resources and credit, if and where appropriate
Maintain project resiliency through shared leadership
Seek a balance of activities that allows us to focus on fulfilling our mission and achieving our vision
Seek ways to empower farmers and other members of the agricultural community to teach each other about the concepts and practices of prairie strips
Create and maintain feedback loops for information sharing among team members, farmer/farm landowner adopters, and other stakeholders
Ensure that the quality of our actions is not compromised with continued growth of the project.
The success of STRIPS is due to support from numerous institutions, funders, and stakeholder advisory committee members. These presently include Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Flood Center, Iowa Soybean Association, Prairie Rivers of Iowa, Sand County Foundation, The Eastern Iowa Airport, The McKnight Foundation, Trees Forever, University of Iowa Biomass Fuel Project, University of Northern Iowa Tallgrass Prairie Center, USDA-ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, USDA Farm Service Agency, USDA Forest Service, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA North Central SARE, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Geological Survey, Walton Family Foundation, Whiterock Conservancy, as well as over 25 private farmers and farmland owners. Our full partner list can be found here.
STRIPS data published in peer-reviewed papers and reports are publicly available through a GitHub repository. More information can be found here.