Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool (RSET)

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Do you know how your operation measures up?
The Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool can help.

NACD and NRCS are working together to expand the use of RSET – short for Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool – among agricultural producers nationwide.

RSET is the future of conservation planning. In the development of the tool, NRCS has integrated the best attributes of all its existing and past science-based resource evaluation tools to give producers one holistic look at their agricultural operation’s current management and conservation activities. Watch this short video with Alabama landowner and NACD Soil Health Champion Annie Dee describe her experience with RSET and how it has helped her evaluate and improve her operation.


How does it work?

RSET compares your operation’s attributes and activities to NRCS’ stewardship thresholds for five natural resource concerns: soil management, water quality, water quantity, air quality, and wildlife habitat. Then, RSET provides the results of the evaluation in an easy-to-read, color-coded bar graph that shows how a producer’s management decisions affect the natural resources under his or her care.

RSET can help you answer field-specific questions like:

• Is soil erosion under control on my farm? And are my fields gaining or losing soil organic matter?
• Are nutrients being used by crops or are they being lost to leaching or run-off?
• Are my irrigation methods as efficient as possible?
• Are my farm and ranch operations resulting in net greenhouse gas emissions?
• What, if any, opportunities do I have for improving wildlife habitat on my land?


Why use RSET?

RSET helps producers continue to improve their operations with conservation practices. After using the free service, you – the producer – determine the next steps. Here are some benefits of trying RSET:

Learn the expected benefits of certain management and conservation practices. Some of the practices recommended in an RSET conservation plan may enhance steps you’ve already taken to increase the resiliency of your operation to extreme weather events and patterns.
Save time and money. If the evaluation points out a potential problem, conservation professionals can use more detailed analyses to confirm concerns and recommend conservation practice planning and design that will save you time and money in the long-run.
Quantify the environmental benefits of using conservation systems on working lands.
Understanding and communicating the environmental benefits of using conservation practices can help boost demand for your product and improve the public’s perception of agriculture.


How long does it take to use the tool, and what does it cost?

If you already have a conservation plan and/or nutrient and pesticide records, it may be just a quick
field walk and data entry by a conservationist to run RSET on your land.

RSET is a free service offered to producers on crop and grazing land across the country. Forest land will be added later in 2018. To have a Resource Stewardship Evaluation completed on your property, contact NACD Northern Plains Representative Laura Demmel at laura-demmel@nacdnet.org.


How can I become an RSET Trailblazer?

You also may join the growing list of producers who have used RSET on their land and thus have been recognized for it as trailblazers in measuring their stewardship levels.

NACD has established the RSET Trailblazer Recognition Program in cooperation with NRCS and your local conservation district to honor those who have met their stewardship objectives through RSET.

RSET is a free service offered to producers on crop and grazing land across the country – forest land will be added in early 2018. The tool is completely confidential.

To have a Resource Stewardship Evaluation completed on your property, please contact NACD Northern Plains Representative Laura Demmel at laura-demmel@nacdnet.org.


Resources


Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool (RSET) Soil Health Champion Webinar

Through RSET, NRCS has integrated the best attributes of many of its resource evaluation tools into one modern way of planning. RSET gives producers a holistic look at their agricultural operation’s current management and conservation activities by comparing an operation’s attributes and activities to stewardship benchmarks for five natural resource concerns: soil management, water quality, water quantity, air quality and wildlife habitat. Then, RSET provides the results of the evaluation in an easy-to-read bar graph that shows how a producer’s management decisions affect the natural resources under his or her care.

Click here to access a special edition of the Soil Health Champions Network bulletin on RSET.

NACD Blog: VESP Means Good Stewardship in Vermont

VESP relies on the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool and the Cornell Soil Health Test to evaluate natural resource stewardship on farms within the state. It is the first statewide stewardship program to use RSET.

NACD Blog: Conservation Districts Key in the Agricultural Sustainability Conversation

From the farm level to the retailer, companies and organizations are assessing how to best measure the sustainability of food and agricultural products produced at every point in the supply chain. Conservation districts have the opportunity to enter into the conversation on the farm and ranch level.


“Planning starts with people. That’s what I love about this program. A conversation leads to developing a plan, before a program.” – Brad Wenz, Stearns County SWCD (Minn.) conservation planner

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