The 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. Read more about Research Overview
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 95% and the amount of nitrogen leaving their fields through surface runoff by up to 85%. Prairie strips also provide 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.
Prairie 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. Read more about Frequently Asked Questions
If you want to plant prairie strips, we suggest you start with one of these two brochures:
These publications answer many initial questions we get from people interested in prairie strips. For more specific information, read: Read more about How can I get prairie strips on my farm?