Seth Watkins is a Taylor County Iowa farmer taking a new approach. As a land owner involved in the Science-based Trial of Rowcrop Integrated Prairie Strips (STRIPS) since 2012, Seth has implemented a number of conservation practices: rotational grazing, restricted wildlife areas, riparian buffers, ponds, shallow water habitats, integrated pest management, prescribed burning, windbreak restoration, no-till, cover crops, tile, terraces, inter-seeded legumes, prairie restoration (CRP) and late season calving.
The STRIPS team recently won an Iowa State University College of Agriculture and LIfe Sciences Team Award.
Since 2007, the STRIPS team has planted prairie strips as a conservation practice with benefits for farmers, landowners and society. The team includes six partner organizations, 16 researchers and 32 graduate students from eight departments and Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension…. Agronomists, ecologists, entomologists, hydrologists, economists, sociologists and soil scientists both from within Iowa State and other organizations are a part of the STRIPS team. The mission of the team is to determine how prairie strips planted on commercial farm fields impact ecosystems. For team members involved in the project, the focus has been on training and supporting farmers and farmland owners. The original prairie strips were located at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, but in 2012 the team started collaborating with farmers to expand the research.
"As an agronomist, Seth is a continuous source of hope, inspiration, new ideas, and common sense," says our Dr. Matt Liebman and STRIPS team member. "It’s a real privilege to work with him."