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NATURAL HERITAGE

Agricultural Model

map of VCLNA agricultural model

The Virginia Agricultural Model was developed in an effort to map important agricultural areas in Virginia based on suitable lands, prime farmland soils and historic farm resources. DCR-DNH collaborated with the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS - USDA: http://soils.usda.gov/gallery/state_soils/) and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/) in model development.

As development pressure continues across the state, remaining resources are being irretrievably lost to development. Agricultural resources contribute to the economy and to a sustainable way of life. Conserving important agricultural resources and prime farmland is imperative as the threat of exurbanization increases.

The development of a GIS model to delineate where agriculturally valuable lands exist serves as a guide to local government, consultants, and developers. The model also serves as part of a larger green infrastructure plan, which aims to model where Virginia's conservation priorities are located to facilitate an integrated approach to planning and development. For information on the Virginia ConservationVision and the Green Infrastructure Modeling effort, please visit the Virginia ConservationVision website at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/vaconvision.shtml.

Datasets include:

  • STATSGO and SSURGO soils data (including prime, unique or locally important farmland)
  • Land Use
  • Slope
  • RESAC 2000 land cover
  • Historic Farms Data

To access the Virginia Agricultural Model Technical Report, click here.

Application of the Agricultural Model

Some general categories of uses to which the recreation model data can be applied include:
  • Targeting- to identify areas of high agricultural value.
  • Prioritizing- to provide primary or additional justification for key conservation land purchases and other protection activities.
  • Local planning- guidance for comprehensive planning and local ordinance and zoning development.
  • Assessment- to review proposed projects for potential impacts.
  • Land management- to guide property owners and public and private land managers in making land management decisions, particularly highlighting the relationship between sprawl and conversion of agricultural land to subdivisions.
  • Public education- to inform the citizenry about the importance of Virginia's farmland.

Products

Maps were produced for the entire Coastal Zone and the Planning District Commissions and included as part of the final report. The report is available online (see above) and on CD by request and include:
  • Maps
  • Methodology
  • Metadata
  • An ArcGIS geodatabase, shapefiles, and ArcINFO Grids.

Data Download

For more information about the Agricultural Model, please contact Jason Bulluck at jason.bulluck@dcr.virginia.gov or 804-786-8377.

Page last updated 2/11.