Guiding conservation decisions with tailored cost-benefit scenarios

person at desk with map on computer monitorWhat’s happening

A new tool for conservation planning, the Financial and Nutrient Reduction Tool, FiNRT (pronounced fine-art), has been developed within the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) toolshed to provide cost-benefit scenarios that can assess the financial and environmental tradeoffs of implementing best management practices. Using FiNRT, conservation planners and the landowners they work with can now estimate the direct and opportunity costs associated with conservation objectives using localized data for a watershed or farm. That includes the opportunity costs of implementing best management practices that take land out of production. This kind of tailored information can reduce the uncertainty farmers often cite as a main obstacle to implementing conservation practices.


  • Emily Zimmerman, assistant professor, Natural Resource Ecology and Management
  • Emma Bravard, research scientist, Natural Resource Ecology and Management
  • John Tyndall, professor, Natural Resource Ecology and Management

Partners/Funding sources

  • USDA Agricultural Research Service
  • Iowa Nutrient Research Center
  • Iowa Water Center
  • USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service

Learn how CALS is guiding conservation decisions

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