How Prairie Pays

Prairie STRIPS are an excellent long-term investment in preserving your farm’s topsoil, providing habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects, and reducing expenses to downstream communities from nutrient pollution.

In the short term, economic losses from land taken out of crop production can be offset with financial assistance, or by utilizing the prairie’s forage value.

Financial Assistance

The most common and significant source of financial assistance available to support prairie STRIPS is through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which is administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Funding for other programs may be available as well–visit your county FSA and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offices to learn about your options.

Prairie STRIPS may qualify for the following Conservation Reserve Program categories, listed by code:

  • CP 15a – Contour grass strip
  • CP 21 – Filter strip
  • CP 27 & 28 – Farmable wetland
  • CP 33 – Quail buffer
  • CP 38 – Habitat buffer
  • CP 42 – Pollinator habitat

Prairie as Forage

Prairie can be baled for hay in August, or grazed after the field crop is harvested.

Prairie provides food and shelter for game animals like deer, quail, and pheasants. Landowners may choose to hunt the prairie themselves, or sell hunting leases for income.


Reviewed by the STRIPS science team at Iowa State University for science/economic content related to prairie strips on April 3, 2018.