A new tool provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Service is available to landowners to help them assess and meet their stewardship goals. Partnering with the National Farmers Union, Iowa women landowners can take part in a free and confidential assessment to determine where improvements can be made to maximize soil health and water quality in a particular field on their farm.
The tool, called the Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool (RSET), takes stock of risks based on specific site conditions such as soils, climate, topography, etc. and then assesses how well current management and conservation practices address those risks. Depending on the results, recommendations may be made for best practices to improve any problem areas. Evaluations are available for cropland, pasture, forest and other ag. related land uses.
The benefits of this tool are many. It gives landowners the information and confidence they need to move forward with implementing practices that will remedy the soil health concerns they have. It also helps landowners, should they choose to share the results, talk with tenants and/or land management companies about conservation goals and practices. Ultimately the goal is to help women landowners reach their conservation goals, and this tool does that with the help of an easy to read evaluation and score.
Interested in having a free assessment done for your farm? Below is a step-by-step process to get going with RSET:
Step 1: identify a field where you and/or your tenant has concerns with, such as erosion. This will be the field that the evaluation will be completed on.
Step 2: contact Barb Stewart, Resource Stewardship Outreach Specialist, to receive a land use data collection sheet that will ask for needed information about your field in order to run the assessment. Most of the questions are yes/no questions, some ask for more detailed responses that a tenant may be able to help answer. Once the sheet is complete, you’ll return it to Barb.
Step 3: set-up a meeting with Barb at a location of your choice to input data and go over the results with you in person. Barb will provide you with an easy to read report highlighting areas that are doing well and areas that may need improvement.
Step 4: visit your local NRCS office at your USDA Service Center to get free technical assistance, update or create a conservation plan, and discuss possible programs and cost share options for the practices discussed in your RSET assessment.
Again, this assessment is free and the information will be kept confidential. To get started, contact Barb Stewart: (641) 521-7981 or firstname.lastname@example.org.