Not sure which types of soil are found on your property?
It’s important to know your property’s soil types if you plan to use it for farming, grazing, or other income streams.
But before you dig your shovel into the ground to see what mystery soil lays beneath, there’s an easy—and free—online tool to figure it out!
The USDA Web Soil Survey is an incredibly powerful online tool for helping you access and understand the soil data on your piece of property anywhere in the United States.
Whether you’re laying the groundwork (pun intended) for plans for your current property or are considering purchasing a new property, this tool is your sidekick in giving you all the gritty details of that property’s soil data.
The USDA Web Soil Survey offers an abundance of information, including outlining each type of soil found on a piece of property and whether it contains prime farmland. For instance, we know we have 6 different types of soil on our property, thanks to the soil survey.
And remember… You get access to all this information—for free! You can also print the report for your own records.
Here’s a quick how-to for getting started finding your property’s soil survey:
1. Go to the USDA Web Soil Survey website.
2. Click the “Start WSS” green button at the top, under the homepage banner. It’ll pull up a map of the continental U.S.
3. Put in your address under the “Quick Navigation” menu on the left. It will pull up a topographic map of your property.
4. Click the “Soil Survey Area” menu on the left, where you’ll enter your state and county. This will allow you to zoom in on the map a bit more.
5. Use the top navigation toggles to draw a perimeter around your property.
6. Then you’ll be able to click “Soil Map” under the second tab at the top.
7. Under the third tab at the top is the “Soil Data Explorer.” This will give you lots of options that you can play around with, but for farming purposes, click “Land Classification” >> “Farmland” >> “View Ratings.” This will tell you if there is prime farmland (or not) on the piece of property you’re viewing. For instance, we have a lot of clay on part of our property, and this survey report helps us to know which areas to avoid when planting our U-Pick Garden.
8. After you find your property’s soil report, you can download and print it by clicking to the “Shopping Cart” tab at the top. But don’t let the word “shopping cart” fool you—it’s free to print!
If you’d like to see these instructions in action…
Olin made a video of how to navigate the USDA Web Soil Survey site in our private Dirt Rich Facebook Group. Our Facebook Group is free to join—just click “Join Group” to be added to the group!
If you’re already a member of our Dirt Rich Facebook Group, you can find Olin’s video here.