Soil and nutrient loss and runoff from agricultural fields are major problems environmentally and economically in the U.S. and globally. After heavy spring rains, soil and water runoff containing fertilizer and pesticides is washed downstream, carrying the sediment and chemicals to the Gulf of Mexico. This process creates a large oxygen-starved area which is toxic to aquatic organisms and damages the commercial fishing and tourism industries. Tree-based buffers are an effective method for preventing runoff, however they can negatively affect crop yields. Based on years of research, University of Missouri scientists suggest farmers use buffers between crops and trees; this technique reduces soil runoff and maintains good growing conditions, creating economic benefits for farmers and, ultimately, for society in general.