This Civil Eats article discusses how planting native prairie grasses could help farms be more productive. In Iowa, researchers and farmers are discovering that planting strips of native prairie amidst farmland benefits soil, water, biodiversity, and more.
Guthrie had help from the Iowa State University (ISU) STRIPS (Science-based Trials of Row-crops Integrated with Prairie Strips) program, which was founded in 2003 by scientists hoping study the effects of strategically planted native prairie for soil, water, and biodiversity benefits on farms. After 10 years, the team began to publish a series of papers laying out their results. They found that adding a prairie to a small fraction of a farm yields impressive benefits for water quality and nutrient retention, reducing erosion, providing habitat, and other benefits. In the years since, the ISU team has been working to help more farmers create native prairies.