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Know Your Soils

The first question a Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) or Cooperative Extension Educator will ask you when it comes to soils is “Do you know your soil type?” Soil type can instantly tell you a number of things, including depth of soil, drainage, slope, production capability, and suitability for buildings and other uses.

Soil types can be found in the Soil Survey for your county. We can’t recommend enough learning to use the NRCS Web Soil Survey online tool. It can allow you to explore everything you’d ever want to know about the soil characteristics of your farm, providing you with a downloadable report in PDF format that you can keep as a reference.

If you don’t know how to use the Web Soil Survey, you can get a paper copy of the soil survey for any piece of land from your local Soil and Water Conservation District/NRCS office or Cooperative Extension office (search online or look in the phone book to find contact info for your local office).

Before you buy or lease property to farm, and before you decide what to grow, it is essential to know what type of soil you’re working with.

Continue on to learn about soil structure and texture>>