The Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool (RSET) is a free program offered through National Farmers Union (NFU) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). It is available to help Iowa farmers, ranchers and land owners improve their working lands conservation efforts, and consequently improve topsoil and nutrient retention, as well as safeguard Iowa’s waterways.

Will Cannon is an innovative farmer who had a RSET evaluation conducted on land he farms near Prairie City, Iowa. Will was curious about the likely impact different types of tillage would have on his ground when Resource Stewardship Outreach Specialist Barb Stewart contacted him to discuss the program. In addition to comparing the impacts of different tillage practices, RSET also allowed Will to consider different crop rotations and how those would impact nutrient stewardship and soil health. Will noted that “RSET help producers make decisions possible decisions with more confidence, and also can help identify other solutions you may not have been thinking about.”

Will is an early adopter of many conservation practices, but sees RSET as an important way to allow farmers who don’t follow conservation developments as closely to gain confidence in making incremental changes. “RSET can help identify opportunities you might not think of independently,” he said. It saves an interested farmer a lot of time researching options.

“If some farmers are willing to go in with an open mind, just putting that into RSET to see how the farm is doing, today, is interesting.” RSET can also open conversations between farmers and the local NRCS office, which can expedite mobilization of technical or financial resources to make the changes identified.

As Will’s experience shows, RSET can help farmers identify paths to their conservation goals. Iowa farmers and landowners interested in RSET should contact Resource Stewardship Outreach Specialist Barb Stewart at [email protected]

This material is based upon work supported by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under number 69-6114-17-015.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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