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FAQ: Are prairie strips only for organic operations?

Prairie strips are a conservation tool that can be used in both conventional and organic farming operations. In conventional farming operations, precision herbicide management is useful. Native forbs (i.e., wildflowers) in the prairie strips are broadleaf plants and can be damaged or even killed by direct contact with herbicide. Once established, native grasses and forbs have deep root systems that help create a durable, resilient plant community. Read more about FAQ: Are prairie strips only for organic operations?

FAQ: What kind of plants are actually in the prairie strips?

Prairie strips are planted with native, perennial prairie species. Species include grassesforbs (i.e., wildflowers), legumes, and sedges. Typically, plantings include stiff-stemmed warm season grasses (e.g., Indiangrass, big bluestem, little bluestem) and a wide range of erect forbs, including species of aster, beebalm, blazing star, bush clover, coneflower, goldenrod, and native sunflower. Read more about FAQ: What kind of plants are actually in the prairie strips?

FAQ: Where can I see prairie strips?

In Iowa, on-farm: Several Iowa State University Research and Demonstration Farms host prairie strips, including the Armstrong Memorial Farm near Lewis, McNay Memorial Farm near Chariton, Neeley-Kinyon Memorial Farm near Greenfield, and the Southeast Farm near Crawfordsville. These farms are open to the public for viewing during business hours. On-farm implementations of prairie strips at private farms are periodically featured at field days organized by either the STRIPS team or partner organizations. Check for announcements on this website or follow us on Twitter (@prairiestrips) to find out about these events. 

In Iowa, original research site: In Iowa, you can visit the original STRIPS research sites at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, but please check in at the refuge’s headquarters, the Prairie Learning Center, for directions and other information before visiting the sites. Signs directing refuge visitors to the STRIPS sites are being developed.  Additional public sites are under development, so stay tuned!

Beyond Iowa: Beyond Iowa, farmers and farmland owners have used native species for planting in-field buffer strips among row crops, often under the USDA NRCS Contour Buffer Strip standard. We are not currently partnering to provide field tours of location where farmers or farmland owners are using prairie strips, which combine consideration watershed area and water flow paths, highly diverse native plantings (~30 species of grasses and wildflowers), and in-field contour buffer and edge-of-field filter strips. Work is underway with partners in Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin to implement research and demonstration areas with prairie strips. Read more about FAQ: Where can I see prairie strips?