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Web Soil Survey: A Tool for Your Working Land

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Nearly all farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners across the country rely on one common resource for production: their soil. If you’re interested in learning more about this medium that grows our nation’s food, fuel, and fiber, we’re here with a tool to help.

If you’re interested in learning more about the medium that grows our nation’s food, fuel, and fiber, we’re here with a tool to help.
Want to learn more about your working land? Try Web Soil Survey today. Photo Credit: Ron Nichols, NRCS

What is Web Soil Survey?

Web Soil Survey is the largest public-facing natural resource database in the world. Whether you manage 10,000 acres or measure your land in square feet, you can use WSS to learn more about your soils through customizable maps, properties, and interpretations – all free and downloadable.

Why was Web Soil Survey created?

The Natural Resources Conservation Service released WSS in 2005 to provide better public access to national soils data and mapping. It is meant to provide general information – such as soil type and basic properties – to more complex data and interpretations.

In the words of Dave Hoover, Director of the National Soil Survey Center, WSS “provides soils data, maps, and interpretations for general users and experts alike. If a landowner is interested in finding the soil type of her cropland, for instance, she can use WSS on a home computer to access that information. If she then chooses to work with NRCS to adopt conservation practices across her operation, the Soil Conservationist working with her can use WSS to learn more.”

What does this mean for you? In short, WSS is customizable for everyone. No matter your interests or operation, you can use WSS in the way that’s impactful for you and your working land.

No matter your interests or operation, you can use WSS in the way that’s impactful for you and your working land.
Whether you're farming 10,000 acres or want to learn more about your backyard, WSS is a tool built for you. Photo Credit: Colette Kessler, NRCS South Dakota

How can I use Web Soil Survey?

WSS is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You don’t need to create an account – just visit this page and get started today.

You can also visit your local service center if you’d like one-on-one support. There, an expert from NRCS can walk you through the tool and personalized applications for you.

When using WSS for the first time, it’s helpful to start with a question. Are you looking to purchase new land and interested in productivity? Curious about farmland classifications? Unsure of expected erosion hazards across your operation? Or, maybe you’re just interested in learning more about the basic properties of the soil in your backyard.

No matter your needs, WSS is a data-driven tool built for you. How could you use it to strengthen management decisions for your working land? Find out today. 

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