Prime Farmland

Prime Farmland

Prime Farmland lists for Virginia Counties (prime farmland lists in the Soil Data Mart); this link takes you away from the Virginia Soils website

What is Prime Farmland?

Prime farmland is land that has the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, forage, fiber, and oilseed crops and that is available for these uses. It has the combination of soil properties, growing season, and moisture supply needed to produce sustained high yields of crops in an economic manner if it is treated and managed according to acceptable farming methods. In general, prime farmland has an adequate and dependable water supply from precipitation or irrigation, a favorable temperature and growing season, an acceptable level of acidity or alkalinity, an acceptable content of salt or sodium, and few or no rocks. Its soils are permeable to water and air. Prime farmland is not excessively eroded or saturated with water for long periods of time, and it either does not flood frequently during the growing season or is protected from flooding. Users of the lists of prime farmland map units should recognize that soil properties are only one of several criteria that are necessary. Other considerations include: 

(1) Land use

Prime farmland is designated independently of current land use, but it cannot be areas of water or urban or built-up land. Map units that are complexes or associations containing components of urban land or miscellaneous areas as part of the map unit name cannot be designated as prime farmland. 

(2) Frequency of flooding

Some map units may include both prime farmland and land not prime farmland because of variations in flooding frequency. 

(3) Water table

Some map units include both drained and undrained areas. Only the drained areas meet the prime farmland criteria.