Managers of the USDA NRCS Regional Conservation Partnerships Program (RCPP) and other landscape scale projects want to quantify the water quality, climate, social, and economic outcomes associated with the adoption of conservation practices by farmers in their projects. However, many of them struggle determining which modeling estimation tool or method is right for them.
This guide by American Farmland Trust provides outcomes quantification information that could be useful to managers of projects funded by NRCS, the USEPA, state and local programs, and corporations with supply chain sustainability goals. The guide features seven water quality tools, three climate tools, one social tool, and three economic tools that can be used without requiring project managers to have computer modeling experience.
The paper also encourages discussion among the many members of the farm conservation community to collaborate to further refine existing tools and evaluation methods and to provide more guidance to better support project managers. To further this discussion, the paper includes 14 recommendations for (1) tool developers, (2) tool users, (3) NRCS, and (4) USDA, EPA, Congress, state agencies, academics, foundations, and corporations.