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Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF) Database

Spatial data on soils, land use, and topography, combined with knowledge of conservation effectiveness can be used to identify alternatives to reduce nutrient discharge from small watersheds. This database was developed to be used in conjunction with the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework Toolkit.

Data comprise soil survey information and land use. Soil characterization data were extracted from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Web Soil Survey (Soil Survey Staff, 2013). Land use coverages were developed to represent agricultural fields and the types and rotations of agricultural crops and other land cover types. Land use boundaries were produced by editing a publicly available USDA field boundaries dataset (pre-2008), with all ownership and county-level attributes removed. To ensure these field polygons were consistent with recent land use, the 2009 Cropland Data Layer (USDA-NASS, 2013) was examined for all fields larger than 16 ha. For those fields with multiple cover types, 2009 National Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP) aerial photography was used as a basis to manually edit field boundaries. A field was considered to have multiple cover types and was edited if the dominant cover occupied <75% of the field, as indicated by the 2009 Cropland Data Layer. Updated field boundaries were then overlaid with data from USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service (2013) Cropland Data Layer for 2000 – 2014, and each field was classified to represent crop rotations and land cover using the most recent six-year (2009-2014) sequence of land cover. Six-year land-cover strings (e.g., corn-corn-soybean-corn-soybean-corn) generated for each field were classified to represent major crop rotations, which were dominantly comprised of corn (Zea mays L.) and soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr) annual row crops.

The database does not include high-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) derived from LiDAR (light detection and ranging) survey data, although these are needed by the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework Toolkit and must be obtained independently.

Database is scheduled to become available on October 1, 2015.

Release Date
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Location
Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois
U.S. Department of Agriculture -- Agricultural Research Service
Contact Name
James, David
Contact Email
Public Access Level
Program Code
005:040 - Department of Agriculture - National Research
Bureau Code
005:18 - Agricultural Research Service