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Missouri Soil Survey Program

The Missouri Cooperative Soil Survey Program continues to provide quality soils information to the public. In April 2002, Missouri celebrated the milestone of completing the initial soils inventory for the entire state of Missouri. In 2003, Missouri began the next phase of the soil survey.

This process consisted of evaluating each county soil survey, documenting deficiencies, reviewing and editing spatial layers to ensure that the line work fit the intended landforms and adjusting soil property data to remove errors and improve consistency. The resulting product is a statewide, seamless soil survey wherein map units join across county lines, soil lines follow the intended landforms, and the soil property database is consistent and relatively error-free. This process reduced the total number of map units in the state from over 5,000 to less than 2,500.

The project phase of the soil survey was started in 2005, wherein new soil survey projects are developed and implemented on a regional land resource area focused on the natural extent of the soils, rather than on a county. These new areas are defined as major land resource areas (MLRA’s). With the new seamless statewide soil survey in place, soil projects can now be developed and implemented by working on problems with individual soil types throughout their extent. Other soil projects have been developed and implemented to address new and unique soil problems that were not evident in the county-based soil surveys. MLRA soil survey technical teams have been formed, and consist of a variety of soil survey users throughout each region. These technical teams address specific, soils-related problems and guide the soil survey in their projects.

Missouri continues work on soil surveys on an MLRA scale and is dedicated to the task of improving the product for each user. There are continually new, unique and important soil uses, along with an increasing group of users. The Missouri Cooperative Soil Survey is committed to addressing each customer’s need. The most up-to-date soils information is available on the internet at Web Soil Survey.

Having an accurate inventory of soil mapping units and their properties is essential for determining the best use of the land. The soil properties determine what crops or trees will grow well, if an area is prone to flooding, if a pond will leak, if a site is suitable for construction, and information about many other land uses.

To get this accurate picture of what soils are where, soil scientists walked most of Missouri’s 44.6 million acres during the initial soil survey. Along the way they examined the soil and collected samples. The soil scientists described the samples, and sent some of them to the University of Missouri’s Soil Characterization Laboratory and the USDA National Soil Survey Laboratory for further analysis. Today, soil scientists continue to go to the field and walk the land, examine and sample the soils, and document their findings to continually improve our states soil survey. These soil properties and the accompanying soil maps can be found on the Web Soil Survey.

Missouri’s soil survey program is led by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and our valuable partners are the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the University of Missouri and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts. The soil survey partnership is a great accomplishment in furthering the protection and wise use of the soil and other natural resources of Missouri; one all Missourians can be proud of.

Menfro - Missouri's State Soil (PDF, 84 KB)

Missouri Major Land Resource Area Soil Survey Office Locations

For more information, please contact:
Missouri Natural Resources Conservation Service
Parkade Center, Suite 250
601 Business Loop 70 West
Columbia, MO 65203
Phone: (573) 876-0907
Fax: (573) 876-0913