The USDA's National Ag Statistics Service this week released a new web application that gives users access to interactive agriculture maps and data based on information collected in the Census of Agriculture.
The new portal allows users to navigate to an area of interest, print the map, display and extract a county's data, download maps and accompanying data for use with common software programs, and integrate the web map services with other mapping applications.
NASS developed the application in collaboration with USDA's Economic Research Service. The web application includes county-level maps and statistics in five categories: crops and plants; economics; farms; livestock and animals; and operators.
Information about harvested acreage, agricultural sales, enrollment in crop insurance programs, natural resources use, statistics on cattle, demographics about farmers and ranchers, and much more can be visualized and analyzed using the Ag Census Web Maps application, USDA says.
NASS Administrator Joseph Reilly says the maps help USDA better serve rural America.
"As we pursue innovation at home and abroad, we are considering how advances in technology and knowledge management systems can help users access the information they need to better accomplish their goals," he said. "We believe the Ag Census Web Maps application will help users of our data do just that."
The Census of Agriculture provides a detailed picture every five years of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. It is the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the United States, USDA says.
Census data are used to make decisions about many things that directly impact farmers and ranchers, including community planning, store/company locations, availability of operational loans and other funding, location and staffing of service centers and farm programs and policies.
For more on the making of the map application, visit the USDA Blog: Mapping U.S. Agriculture
Do you live in one of Farm Futures' 'Best Places to Farm'? We've compiled the 3,000-county list based on ag census data from 2002, 2007 and 2012 that reveals countywide financial performance, including return on assets, profit margin, asset turnover and average net farm income.