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Native prairie plants returning to AmFam headquarters


Bringing native prairie plants back to the property around the American Family Insurance complex is part of the company’s sustainable land management plan.

In a few months with some help from Mother Nature, more native prairie plants will be sprouting around the American Family Insurance headquarters on Madison’s northeast side as part of the company’s land management plan.

“Putting more native plants and grasses back into the landscape will provide habitat for pollinators, birds and small mammals,” said Wayne Rayfield, facility land management administrator. “Reestablishing the plants also helps control soil erosion and regulates storm water run-off,” he said.

Reducing American Family’s carbon footprint, as outlined in the company’s Corporate Responsibility Plan, is also a positive outcome.

Strategy to improve the soil

In 2012, American Family initially tried to restore prairie grasses and flowers to about 15 acres of land southwest of the building complex. But, a dry spell prevented the plants from thriving. Rayfield and his team used agricultural crops to help rehabilitate the soil to prep it for the native plants.

“We decided to plant agricultural crops in that area for 2016 through 2018, which would benefit us in several ways,” said Rayfield. “It would sterilize the soil, reduce the seedbed and reintroduce nitrogen and nutrients.”

Corn was planted for two years, followed by a year of soybeans.

80 species of native plants

The prairie will be planted using no-till methods to minimize soil disturbance and reduce weeds. The seed mixture will be comprised of approximately 80 different species of grasses and wild flowers.

“It will take a while for the plants to root well and grow. Bringing the prairie to maturity will be a multi-year process. But once established, we’ll have an additional area of native Wisconsin beauty on our campus, in all seasons,” says Wayne.



Watch video of the 'no till' seed planting method, and hear about one of the benefits the native plants will have on the environment.


About American Family Insurance

Madison, Wisconsin-based American Family Insurance group is the nation's 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group and ranks No. 306 on the Fortune 500 list. The company sells American Family-brand products, including auto, homeowners, life, business and farm/ranch insurance, primarily through its exclusive agents in 19 states. American Family affiliates (The General and Homesite) also provide options for consumers who want to manage their insurance matters directly over the internet or by phone. Affiliate Main Street America sells insurance products through independent agents. Web; Facebook; Twitter