Agriculture in the Loess Hills (Jean C. Prior, Research Geologist)
Jean C. Prior, a geologist, raises concerns of farming or building within a working landscape.
Transcript: Agriculture in the Loess Hills
The fact that you have this unique combination of ecology and geology, it becomes...The Loess Hills are not farmed very much. They're pastured but too steep for cultivation. So in effect, they've kind of protected themselves. They've protected their ecological habitats simply because of the steepness of the terrain. So you have this little, almost like a topographic, sanctuary where you've got this remnant prairie that was once present across so much of Iowa and the Midwest. And it's just hanging on in this little area of steep terrain. So that makes it unique in that here's a place you can go to see the native vegetation of [what] so much of our agricultural land was. The things that support the prairie also support corn and soybeans -- just the right amount of sun, just the right amount of rain. They're both grains in a sense -- grass and grains grow together in this landscape. But in the Loess Hills we've not been able to farm it because of its steepness, so you've got this little enclave of prairie.