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Challenge #1: Soil Erosion from Agricultural Fields

Challenge #1: Soil Erosion from Agricultural Fields

Land degradation due to soil erosion

Soil erosion adversely impacts agronomic productivity. Additionally, soil erosion negatively impacts the environment, food security, and quality of life. The effects of soil erosion have both on-site and off-site impacts. For example, on-site impacts may include reduced crop yield and increased nutrient loss, while off-site impacts may include water contamination and increased food prices.

 Three reasons why soil erosion is an important issue: Read more about Challenge #1: Soil Erosion from Agricultural Fields

Challenge #2: Reduced Water Quality

Challenge #2: Reduced Water Quality

Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, and suspended soil sediments have greatly diminished water quality (USEPA, 2017a). Polluted water with unusually high concentrations of dissolved or suspended materials, or small amounts of highly toxic materials can be detrimental and sometimes even deadly to living things. Civilization has many uses for and is dependent on high-quality water (Troeh et al., 2004).

Major agricultural contributions to reduced water quality include: Read more about Challenge #2: Reduced Water Quality

Maintenance - Ongoing Management

Maintenance - Ongoing Management

 

Maintenance Year 1:

During the first year of establishment prairie plant species will use their energy mainly for root growth. It is important to allow sunlight to reach the soil surface and the prairie plants (STRIPS, 2017b). Annual weed pressure will be the greatest during the first year and will decrease in subsequent years. Read more about Maintenance - Ongoing Management

Social Engagement

Social Engagement

To spread the word and adoption of this new conservation practice, the STRIPS team relies on the influence of multiple entities to work with Midwestern farming communities. These include partner organizations, cooperating landowners, scientists, educators, and extension specialists to visually display signage, conduct research, host educational field days and provide extension workshops. Read more about Social Engagement

Chapter 6: Take Home Points

Take Home Points

  • Incorporation of prairie strips into row crop land is one possible solution to the challenges facing Midwest farmers.

  • Converting just 10% of row crop land into prairie provides disproportionate benefits.

  • Prairie strips slow water runoff and encourage water infiltration, reducing soil erosion and nutrient export, thereby improving water quality.

  • Prairie strips increase the habitat available for biodiversity, including pollinators and some grassland birds.

Read more about Chapter 6: Take Home Points>

Training Module: Using Native Prairie Strips to Improve Soil and Water Quality

Welcome to the Prairie Strips training module. This self-guided resource is intended for consulting professionals, technical or extension staff, and those interested in learning more about the prairie strips practice. The seven chapters listed below include descriptions, visuals, and videos that will educate participants about some of the major challenges that Midwestern farmers and landowners face when it comes to meeting conservation goals, and how prairie strips can be used as a multi-benefit conservation practice. Read more about Training Module: Using Native Prairie Strips to Improve Soil and Water Quality

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