© Chesapeake Bay Program (Chesapeake)

Chesapeake Bay: Farms


This map depicts prime farmland, productive farms and space for urban farming important for long-term conservation to ensure sustainable “close to home” sources of food for the Chesapeake region’s population and to support the economic and cultural value of working farms and farmers.

Data Layer Description


Chesapeake Conservation Partnership


Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.


The map depicts important farmlands related to the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership long-term farm conservation goal: “Protect the Chesapeake watershed’s productive farms and prime farmland from conversion and secure space for urban farming to ensure permanent, sustainable ‘close to home’ sources of food for the region’s population and to support the economic and cultural value of our working farms and farmers.”

The goal identifies three mappable resources: prime farmlands, productive farms and space for urban farming. This includes both lands currently in agricultural production and land classified as highly suitable for farming, but which may not currently be in production. This data layer is based on the following:

Prime farmlands means: (a) soils classified as prime by USDA Soil Survey Geographic database (SSURGO) data; and (b) farm lands identified as of statewide importance by USDA SSURGO data. Some of these lands are not currently in agricultural production.

Productive farms means: All lands currently in agricultural use as identified in USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Cropland Data Layer, excluding areas that are not farmed.

Space for Urban Farming means: To date, urban farming data is only included for three cities where it is available, Baltimore MD, Richmond VA and Washington DC. For these cities, urban farming  consists of small plots (typically known as “community gardens”). Data documenting these plots is derived from files developed and made available by local city groups: Baltimore:  at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future; Richmond: Green Richmond Initiative; Washington DC: DCGIS Open Data.

This data is grouped in three mapping units in this data layer:

  1. Prime/Farmland of Importance, Farmed: This includes prime farmlands that are currently in agricultural use, as defined above.
  2. Additional Farmed lands: This includes other lands currently in agricultural use which are not designated prime, as defined above. This includes urban farming spaces within Richmond VA, Baltimore MD and Washington DC.
  3. Prime/Farmland of Importance, not Farmed: This includes prime farmland that is not currently in agricultural use, as defined above.

How to get the data layer

Contact Jeff Allenby, Chesapeake Conservancy,

How you might make use of this data layer

This dataset shares important farmlands for long-term conservation. This information may be useful in planning and supporting various collaborative conservation efforts.

How to get more information

For more information about the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership contact: John Griffin, Program Manager,

Access and use constraints

Attribution No Derivatives (BY-ND)


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