Farms can benefit from adding conservation buffer strips to crop fields. Buffer strips are narrow plantings of perennial plants that are primarily used to reduce water runoff from fields, including loss of pesticides and fertilizers. They can also help provide habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects as well as wildlife. Most often, buffer strips of perennial grasses are planted around the edge of the field, particularly in downslope positions; woody plants are sometimes used in riparian buffer strips along streams, ponds, or lakes.
Sometimes buffer strips are planted along contours across a field to reduce water erosion. The width of the buffer strip should be based on the amount of slope in the field and the particular goal for the buffers, but typical buffer strips are 10 to 30 feet wide.