Average Land Cover

The AgSite Assessment Tool analyzes data from the USDA Cropscape program to report historical land usage of the area within a 3-mile radius of the center of the selected location. It displays the land cover classification, both in number of acres and as a percent of the area. The data in the Land Use table is an average of the last three years.

AgSite only reports certain types of land cover (e.g. water, wetlands and developed lands) regardless of how prevalent they are in the analyzed area. AgSite aggregates other land uses depending on how prevalent it is within the analyzed area. For example, if corn acres exceed 10% of the land cover it will be reported as corn; if it is less than 10% of the land cover it will be aggregated with other crops and reported under “row crops” or “other.”

Land cover classifications are defined as follows:

  • Developed – consists of such areas as parks and recreational areas, single-family housing, apartments and commercial areas.
  • Water – consists of ponds, lakes, rivers and aquaculture structures.
  • Wetlands – consists of woody and herbaceous wetlands.
  • Row crops – consists of all row crops such as corn, cotton, soybeans, etc. If any single row crop is greater than 10% of the designated area, it is listed separately; otherwise, it is combined with other row crops and listed as “row crops” or combined with other land use classifications and reported as “other.”
  • Small grains – consists of all small grain crops such as rice, wheat, lentils, etc. If any single small grain classification is greater than 10% of the designated area, it is listed separately; otherwise, it is combined with other small grain classifications and listed as “small grains” or combined with other land use classifications and reported as “other.”
  • Horticulture crops – consists of all horticulture crops such as vegetables, herbs fruits, etc. If any horticulture classification is greater than 10% of the designated area, it is listed separately; otherwise, it is combined with other horticulture classifications and listed as “horticulture crops” or combined with other land use classifications and reported as “other.”
  • Double cropped – consists of all double crop fields such as double crop wheat and soybeans, lettuce and cotton, barley and corn, etc. If any double crop classification is greater than 10% of the designated area, it is listed separately; otherwise, it is combined with other double crop classifications and listed as “double cropped” or combined with other land use classifications and reported as “other.”
  • Forages – consists of alfalfa and other hay, grasslands and pastures, sod and switchgrass. If any single forage is greater than 10% of the designated area, it is listed separately; otherwise, it is combined with other forages and listed as “forages” or combined with other land use classifications under “other.”
  • Forested – consists of deciduous forest, evergreen forest and shrubland. If any single forest classification is greater than 10% of the designated area, it is listed separately; otherwise, it is combined with other forest classifications and listed as “forested” or combined with other land use classifications and reported as “other.”
  • Tree crops – consists of cultivated orchards such as cherry, apple and citrus, etc. If any single tree crop classification is greater than 10% of the designated area, it is listed separately; otherwise, it is combined with other tree crop classifications and listed as “tree crops” or combined with other land use classifications and reported as “other.”
  • Other – consists of barren land, fallow cropland and classifications above which do not individually aggregate to 10% of the designated area.

AgSite also allows users to view a USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Cropland Data Layer map of the area. The map lists all land uses in more detail than the table on the AgSite report.

For more information about land cover classifications, visit the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium’s (MRLC) National Land Cover Database.