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About STRIPS

Iterim Watershed at NSNWR.

STRIPS stands for Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips. The STRIPS project is composed of a team of scientists, educators, farmers, and extension specialists working on the prairie strips farmland conservation practice. Our research shows that prairie strips are an affordable option for farmers and farm landowners seeking to garner multiple benefits. By converting 10% of a crop field to diverse, native perennials farmers and farmland owners can reduce the amount of soil leaving their fields by 90% and the amount of nitrogen leaving their fields through surface runoff by up to 85%. Prairie strips also provide potential habitat for wildlife, including pollinators and other beneficial insects. 

Need more information on just what prairie strips are? Click here.

Or visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.

To watch a short movie about the history, design, and benefits of prairie strips please click here.

To find out about our team, mission, vision, and guiding principles: Read more.

Interested in implementing prairie strips on your land? Contact prairiestrips@iastate.edu today! 

Research Overview

Helmers-Watkins-Liebman NSNWRThe STRIPS project began in 2003, when Iowa State University scientists began discussing the opportunity to test the effects of integrating restored prairie in crop fields with managers at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge. Together, the scientists and refuge managers established four different treatments on 12 small watersheds at Neal Smith in 2007. As of 2012, we're now also working on a growing number of commercial farm fields across Iowa and northern Missouri. Read more about the research background, farmer collaborators, and research topics here.

What Are Prairie Strips?

Prairie strips is a farmland conservation practice that have been shown to yield disproportionate benefits for soil, water, and biodiversity when integrated into corn and soy fields.  Explore this page to learn more about the design and benefits of STRIPS.

Tim Youngquist Presents Iowa Learning Farms Webinar

April 23, 2015

STRIPS Farmer Liaison presents on "Spreading Prairie to Iowa Farms" in this recent Iowa Learning Farms webinar. Tim is the best person on the team to ask questions of when it comes to on-farm implementation of prairie strips.

Frequently Asked Questions

Prairie strips at NSNWR by Meghann JarchowPrairie strips is a farmland conservation practice that uses strategically placed native prairie plantings in crop fields. The practice has been tested by the STRIPS team since 2007 on experimental plots at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge and increasingly on commercial farms across Iowa. Here we present our responses to the Frequently Asked Questions we receive on prairie strips at conferences and field days, and through email. The information was prepared by team members, and will be updated over time as needed, as we continue to learn. The answers below are general in nature, and may not apply in specific situations. Resources are provided with each answer.

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