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Filter Strips

Grazing Management

Filter Strips

Filter strips are vegetative strips that protect water quality by intercepting runoff from agricultural fields. Riparian herbaceous cover is a similar practice that can also be useful to people grazing livestock.

What it does for you

  • Protects stream and river banks.

  • Reduces soil erosion.

  • Encourages wildlife usage.

  • Protects ditch banks and reduces sedimentation.

  • May provide income through USDA cost-share programs.


  • The major perceived cost of buffers is the removal of land from agricultural production; however, these areas may be flash grazed and not decrease production of a livestock operation.

  • Native species of vegetation are preferred by wildlife, but these species may not be the best for water quality.

  • Some costs (seed, fencing, alternative water development) can be recovered through USDA programs.

  • The width of buffer strips needs to be increased on steeper farm land.

  • Loss of land may not be costly if the area is low yielding due to shade, compaction or wildlife damage.