Resources for Landowners and Practitioners

Native seed drill and tractor planting prairie into corn stubble

Answering Questions, Providing Resources

We know Iowa's rural landowners carefully consider land-use options for their property, asking many thoughtful questions. When conservation practices involve removing tillable land from production, those questions take on added significance. Do the benefits of the practice outweigh the costs? Will land productivity be impacted? Will the practice be successful? What kind of management is required and how much time will it take?

Our Prairie on Farms team and Iowa's technical service providers regularly hear variations of these and many other questions about the use of prairie on farms. To help rural landowners and practitioners through the decision-making process, the Tallgrass Prairie Center, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and our partners at Iowa State STRIPS have collaborated to provide answers to the frequently asked questions.

  • How do prairie STRIPS benefit my farm?
  • Is data available to support these benefits?
  • How are prairie STRIPS positioned to maximize benefits?
  • What cost-share programs are available for STRIPS and other prairie plantings on private land?
  • How do I choose the best seed mix?
  • How do I find a native seeding contractor?
  • Will the deep roots plug tile lines?
  • Will the prairie planting be invaded by weeds?
  • How much time will I need to allocate for maintenance?


A number of incentive programs are available to help Iowa landowners create and manage native landscapes.

Surveying with landowner


A compilation of cost-share options for wildlife habitat projects.


The United States Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) oversees a number of voluntary, conservation-related incentive programs including the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), and more.


The United State Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offers a variety of voluntary programs to eligible landowners and ag producers to help sustainably manage natural resources. These include the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), and more.


This link provides a comprehensive list of funding opportunities for agricultural producers and other landowners through the NRCS. (Some of the programs listed here are also listed at the two preceding links.)


The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) helps landowners, land trusts, and other entities protect, restore, and enhance wetlands, grasslands, and working farms and ranches through conservation easements.


This partnership between the Iowa Native Seed Growers Association, the Iowa Chapter of Pheasants Forever, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources helps Iowans plant Iowa-grown native seed for wildlife habitat projects.  


A list of the Iowa DNR's private lands initiatives, as well as a link to its private lands program staff.


Financial assistance for conservation practices is available through IDALS. Fund allocations are made to soil and water conservation districts, where commissioners set priorities for their use, and field office staff provide technical assistance.


The Partners for Fish & Wildlife program works with private landowners to improve fish and wildlife habitat on their lands. Financial assistance may be available.


Trees Forever funding programs pool resources from donors and sponsors to provide financial assistance for conservation projects.

A link to our peer-reviewed journal articles and technical reports.


A fact sheet for landowners that covers the basics about native seed mixes.


An online tool that allows you to build a custom native seed mix.


USDA fact sheet (December 2019) about CRP funding for prairie strips.


USDA technical note (December 2021) on planning and installing prairie strips.


An up-to-date list of native seed vendors and seeding/management contractors doing business in Iowa.


An introductory fact sheet for farmers with commonly asked questions.


A fact sheet explaining estimated establishment and management costs.


A publication that looks at numerous ways to incorporate prairies into farms.