Iowa Learning Farms to Host Prairie Strips Field Day Near Elkader

AMES, Iowa—Iowa Learning Farms will host a field day at the Roverud Family Partnership Farm, Elkader, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 19. The field day will focus on using prairie strips integrated with row crops for reductions in nutrient and sediment runoff. The event is free-of-charge, open to the public, and a meal will be provided.

The prairie strip concept comes out of the research project “Science-based Trials of Row Crops integrated with Prairies (STRIPs).” The STRIPs project is looking at the effectiveness of strategically placed prairie areas on farm fields growing row crops. On-farm research conducted at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, Prairie City, has shown that by taking just 10 percent of the field out of row crop production and planted with perennial prairie plants, reduces sediment movement off the field by 95 percent, reduces phosphorus loss by 90 percent, and total nitrogen loss reduction by nearly 85 percent.

The Roverud Family Farm has adopted this technique on several fields on their farm. Roverud Farm Manager Adam Rodenberg will talk about farming these fields and the benefits these prairie areas bring to wildlife, as he is also a Pheasants Forever representative.  

Iowa State University Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Professor Matt Helmers will discuss the water quality benefits of using prairie strips. He leads the hydrology study portion at the STRIPs research site. He will also talk about design and placement strategies for these prairie areas.

Additionally, the Conservation Station will be on display. The Conservation Station features a rainfall simulator that shows the effects the effects that different surfaces from agricultural and urban environments have on the displacement of rain water.

The event is located at 19575 Sandpit Road, just outside of Elkader. When coming to Elkader from the north on Highway 13, turn right onto North High Street, then turn right onto Sandpit Road. When coming into Elkader from the south on Highway 13, turn left onto South High Street, travel through Elkader, turn left from North High Street onto Sandpit Road. The field day site is located just beyond the County Offices building.

Please RSVP to the Clayton County NRCS office by calling (563) 245-1048 by June 13. For more information on STRIPs research, visit For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit

Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation, encouraging adoption of conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best management practices that improve water quality and soil health while remaining profitable. Partners of Iowa Learning Farms are the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service and Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA section 319), Conserva¬tion Districts of Iowa, Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Water Center and Practical Farmers of Iowa.