STRIPs at Neal Smith, perennialization experiment, Central Iowa: Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairies.

STRIPs at Neal Smith group.JPG
An Iowa State University field research crew gathers biodiversity data in an experimental prairie buffer strip planted within a small watershed of conventionally managed row crops in central Iowa (2008).

The Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairies, or STRIPs at Neal Smith project, is an effort by an interdisciplinary team of researchers, educators, and farmers studying the impacts of strategically placed prairie strips within row-cropped agriculture. The project, located within the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge near Des Moines, Iowa, explores how small amounts of perennial vegetation in otherwise rowcropped systems enhance the health and diversity of Midwestern agricultural landscapes.

A primary objective of the project is the quantification of the influence of different proportions and landscape configurations of annual (e.g., corn and soybean) and perennial (e.g., prairie, savanna, agroforestry) plant communities on the storage, cycling, and output of nutrients, water and carbon at field and catchment levels.

The interdisciplinary team includes refuge personnel, Iowa State University researchers and graduate students, USDA researchers, and visiting international scholars. The team is interested in how perennial vegetation at key locations in agricultural landscapes offers the potential to dramatically improve environmental and ecological conditions, and how perennial plants may be used in optimal landscape designs for enhancing environmental performance of rowcropped watersheds.

For more information see STRIPs at Neal Smith, or contact Matt Liebman, Wallace Chair of Sustainable Agriculture, Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University,, (515)294-7486. See also:

Anerobic Digestion and Biogas

UW Extension have created seven modules focused on the use of anaerobic digestion technologies. Details of the process are introduced, as well as factors that influence start-up, operation and control of anaerobic digesters at different scales.

Contact Us:


Carol Williams
(608) 890-3858 (office)
(515) 520-7494 (mobile)
Department of Agronomy
1575 Linden Dr.
University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706

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Grassland buffers protect Wisconsin’s waterways from excess nutrient runoff from agriculture. Photo: Anonymous.