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
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
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
Prairie strips are 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
How do I find someone to seed prairie strips for me?
The Plant Iowa Native website has contact information for seed sales and technical service providers.
Prairie strips are a conservation practice that uses strategically placed native prairie plantings in crop fields.
The practice was developed and tested by the STRIPS (Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips) team at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa. Read more about FAQ: What are prairie strips?