Link to National Soil Survey Handbook Section
Title 7 Code Definition

Official prime farmland map units can be found in Section II of the electronic Field Office Technical Guide for the State you are interested in: | This information is also found on the Web Soil Survey site.

General Criteria

Prime farmland soils are those that have the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, forage, fiber, and oilseed crops, and are also available for these uses (the soil's use could be cropland, pastureland, forest land, or other land, but not urban built-up or water). It has the soil quality, growing season, and moisture supply needed to economically produce sustained high yields of crops when treated and managed, including water management, according to acceptable farming methods. In general, prime farmland soils have adequate and dependable precipitation, a favorable temperature and growing season, acceptable acidity or alkalinity, and few or no surface stones. They are permeable to water and air. Prime farmland soils are not excessively erodible or saturated with water for a long period of time, and they either do not flood frequently or are protected from flooding.

Specific Criteria

Prime farmland soils in Massachusetts meet all the following criteria: (Terms used are defined in USDA publications: "Soil Taxonomy, Agriculture Handbook 435," "Soil Survey Manual, Agriculture Handbook 18," "Predicting Rainfall Erosion Losses, Agriculture Handbook 537," and "Wind Erosion Forces in the United States and Their Use in Predicting Soil Loss, Agriculture Handbook 346."

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