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cropscape

Every Day is Earth Day for Ag Producers

After a trip to Colorado’s Pikes Peak in 1893, Katharine Lee Bates wrote the lyrics to “America the Beautiful.” The memorable words paint a sensory-rich picture of “amber waves” and “fruited plains” that celebrate our land and the true wealth of any nation – agriculture. Today, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, the United States has more than 900 million acres of land in farms; that’s 40% of all U.S. land. And we rely on the 3.4 million producers, around 1% of our population, to manage that land and provide food, feed, fiber and fuel for our nation and the world.

Find Where Your Food is Grown Using NASS Cropland Data Layer

Whether you are interested in seeing what’s grown in your area or you are a researcher with more in depth informational needs, NASS’s CropScape is a valuable tool for you. CropScape is the public user interface for the national land cover geospatial data product called Cropland Data Layer (CDL). The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the latest annual CDL at 30 meters resolution on Feb. 5, 2020. The entire archive of historical CDL products are available on CropScape for you to browse, interact, visualize, download, and query the CDL dataset without needing specialized software tools.

U.S. Agricultural Production Systems of the Future: What Research is Needed Now?

Depending on where you live in the United States, the first thing that likely comes to mind for agriculture production systems are the large fields of corn, soybeans, wheat or cotton seen growing each summer. But spend a few minutes looking at CropScape, a color-coded map that charts where almost a hundred different types of U.S. crops are grown currently, and you begin to appreciate the diversity and regionality of production systems. This map shows that although there are U.S. regions where crop production is dominated by a few commodity crops, there are others where U.S. farmers are growing a wide array of fruit, vegetables, and other “specialty” crops. Agricultural Atlas maps produced by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service show similar diversity in livestock production, including land in pasture and range production.