© Chesapeake Bay Program (Chesapeake)

Chesapeake Potential Prime Soils Actively Farmed


This layer represents the result of a prime farmland model that utilizes prime soils (STATSGO), Land Cover (RESAC), Elevation and Percent Slope (DEM) to determine estimates of the acreage of farmed land on prime soils.  

Data Layer Description


The Chesapeake Bay Program


Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D.C. (the Chesapeake Bay watershed)


Model methodology:
Download STATSGO data from NRCS.  Summarize and join the appropriate STATSGO tables to attribute the STATSGO polygons with percent prime soil information.  Using a land cover grid of excluded lands, calculate the proportion of each STATSGO polygon that is likely to include prime soils.  For each polygon, divide the percentage of prime soils by the proportion of the polygon area that could include prime soils, ensuring that resultant values do not exceed 100%.   Convert the STATSGO polygon coverage to a raster grid based on the resultant values and multiply it by a binary grid of agricultural lands that fall within non-excluded lands.  Summarize the output grid using a 1-square-mile-cell overlay polygon quadrant and convert the values to acres on the basis of cell size.  This process attributes the overlay quadrant with estimates of the acreage of farmed land on prime soils.  

How to get the data layer

Download here.

How you might make use of this data layer

Assessing the extent of farming on prime soils in the Bay watershed is a useful measure for determining the lands of highest importance for agricultural productivity and sustainability.  Areas of intense agricultural activity on prime soils can be overlaid with maps of development pressure to prioritize agricultural preservation activities.  

How to get more information

Contact John Wolf.

Sample Map

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