College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Center for Land Use Education and Research

About the  Agricultural Fields & Soils Project

CLEAR develops moderate resolution (30 meter pixel) Landsat-derived remote sensing land cover data as the basis of the Connecticut's Changing Landscape (CCL) project. The CCL category “agricultural field” includes lands that have spectral qualities that correspond to land in active agriculture, such as crop fields and pasture. Lands identified as such by CLEAR’s remote sensing methodology were also checked and corrected using high resolution imagery. CLEAR’s land cover class of agricultural fields is not to be confused with terms or studies referencing “agriculture” or “agricultural land,” which typically include all land owned by farmers, regardless of land cover. The analysis described here consists of a brief summary of land cover status and change data from the original CCL study, plus a comparison of that land cover data with the USDA/NRCS soils data. The soils data is widely available and has a minimum mapping unit of 5 acres.  We restricted our study to include only soils labeled as prime farmland soil or farmland soil of statewide importance. 

For more information on these two datasets, visit:

Land Cover

Agricultural Field is a class of the Connecticut's Changing Landscape land cover dataset. It was determined and interpreted based on aerial imagery (satellite and aircraft). It is entirely independent of soils.

It is defined as: areas that are under agricultural uses such as crop production and/or active pasture. Also likely to include some abandoned agricultural areas that have not undergone conversion to woody vegetation.

A brief explanation of how the Agricultural Field class was derived can be found here in the Connecticut's Changing Landscape FAQ section.

Soils Data Explained

Here, High Quality Agricultural Soils are a combination of two NRCS soil classes: Prime Farmland Soils and Statewide Important Farmland Soils.

Prime Farmland Soils are defined by the US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service as: Those soils that have the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, forage, fiber, and oil seed crops, and are also available for these uses (the land could be cropland, pastureland, range-land, forestland, or other land, but not urban built-up land or water). It has the soil quality, growing season and moisture supply needed to economically produce sustained high yields or crops when treated and managed, including water management, according to acceptable farming practices.

Statewide Important Farmland Soils are defined by the US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service as: Those soils that fail to meet one or more of the requirements of prime farmland, but are important for the production of food, feed, fiber, or forage crops. They include those soils that are nearly prime farmland and that economically produce high yields of crops when treated and managed according to acceptable farming methods.

For more information and complete metadata, visit the metadata.


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