Have you heard of prescribed burning?
Prescribed burning is the act of controlled, contained burning of natural, native grasses to prevent brush and trees from overtaking prairie lands, as well as preventing the build-up of dead vegetation that encourages weeds and slows new growth. By maintaining a balanced prairie through burning, the habitat is improved for prairie birds, mammals, and butterflies, many of which are endangered.
Every three to seven years, we take special care to burn off our native prairie land that surrounds our hemp fields. It takes careful consideration and planning to burn large patches of land, and burns cannot be planned more than a day in advance, as the environmental factors need to be just right.
Temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, wind speed, and wind direction must all meet specific criteria before a spark can fly, and a crew must be ready to man the fire.
Prior to conducting a burn, we take time to call the local fire department, county officials, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, as well as neighboring landowners, letting them know our burn plan. We also mow “fire breaks” in the tall grass so that we can contain the burn to a designated area and avoid flames spreading elsewhere.
The health of the land is important to us, as the nutrients in Iowa’s soil make it possible for us to produce healthy, organic hemp. The deep roots of native flowers and grasses keep nutrients in the soil, and through prescribed burning, we are able to keep our prairie balanced and inhabited by critters that benefit the ecosystem and our crop. We’re happy to take the time to do this safely to help the ecosystem thrive.