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Introduction

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a science and technology-based framework to assess and reduce nutrients to Iowa waters and the Gulf of Mexico.  It identifies practices that farmers can implement to lower the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus running off of their farmland.  

In order to make the best decisions about how to use these practices on their land, farmers need to know the costs associated with each practice.  The Nutrient Reduction Strategy Decision Support Tool was created to provide farmers with a straight-forward cost analysis of various Nutrient Reduction Strategy practices, so that they can make more informed budgeting decisions.  

The tool estimates the amount and timing of costs associated with each practice and includes information on the availability of government cost-share programs for each practice.

View the costs covered in the current version of the tool.

Important caveat:

Please note that the direct and indirect cost of any Best Management Practice can vary considerably from site to site and are largely contingent on: initial conditions, hydrology, soils, cropping system, practice design, management characteristics and experienced opportunity costs (which can be highly variable).  The costs presented here are simply baseline numbers and are meant to be informative rather than prescriptive.

Current plans for the future of the support tool

  • Improve ease of use
  • Fix bugs and errors
  • Improve cost information
  • Create web-based practice calculators

Current release status

The current release status is beta.  Your feedback on estimated costs, bugs/errors, and ease of use are very important in helping the project improve.  Please contact John Tyndall, jtyndall@iastate.edu if you have any questions about this BMP cost assessment tool!


Methodology:

This cost tool updates and expands upon Christianson et al. (2013) and utilizes standardized discounted cash flow techniques relevant to water quality oriented agricultural Best Management Practices. For a more detailed overview of these methods please see:

Christianson L, Tyndall JC, Helmers M. (2013) Financial Comparison of Seven Nitrate Reduction Strategies for Midwestern Agricultural Drainage. Water Resources & Economics. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wre.2013.09.001

Tyndall JC, Roesch G. (2014) A Standardized Approach to the Financial Analysis of Structural Water Quality BMPs. Journal of Extension. Vol. 52, Num. 3, 3FEA10.