About Farmland Assessment

The New Jersey Farmland Assessment Act of 1964 permits farmland and woodland acres that are actively devoted to an agricultural or horticultural use to be assessed at their productivity value.

The document historically used to qualify Soil Classification for Farmland Assessment is the “Productive Capacity of New Jersey Soils”, which was developed in 1964 when the Farmland Assessment Act was passed. At that time, the most recent Soil Survey had been conducted in 1911 and completed in 1927. The document described the 215 New Jersey Soils and placed them into 6 categories (Groups A through F). Group A was very productive farmland while Group F was unsuitable for agriculture.

Since that time, soil mapping and classification has been modernized. Soil series have been broken down further into soil map units. The soil map units in current soil surveys available through USDA-NRCS WebSoilSurvey do not directly correlate to the soil series and soil groups in the “Productive Capacity of New Jersey Soils”. Furthermore, many additional objective criteria have been developed to better assess and describe soil series such as depth to seasonally high water table, organic matter content, and erosion risk.

Issues accessing the productivity information arose because the historic information was outdated and not easily accessible to the public. And in 2019 a legislative mandate passed for NJDA to develop an accessible mapping platform As such, NJDA consulted USDA-NRCS to identify an alternative method to assess soil productivity. The USDA-NRCS National Commodity Crop Productivity Index (NCCPI) was identified. The NCCPI is a method of arraying the soils of the United States for non-irrigated commodity crop production based on their inherent soil properties. This is an established method which directly correlates with current and future soil series mapping.

NJDA partnered with Rowan GEOLAB to make this updated information readily available and accessible to the public and municipal officials who use this information for farmland assessment evaluation. This project provides an open access tool that allows users in the agricultural and governance community to access, view and print soils reports by tax parcel. The tool incorporates a number of components, capabilities, and functionality that not only benefit the farmland assessment process, but other programs that rely on soils data such as the Farmland Preservation Program.

This project overlays existing reference data:

Soil Map Units – SSURGO data

Soil Survey Staff, Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Web Soil Survey. Available online here.

Parcels – MOD-IV data*

NJ Office of GIS Staff. State of New Jersey. Parcels and MOD-IV Composite of NJ. Available online here.

*The polygons delineated in this dataset do not represent legal boundaries and should not be used to provide a legal determination of land ownership.

Crop Productivity – NCCPI

Soil Survey Staff, Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Web Soil Survey. Available online here.

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NJ MAP utilizes best available data from a variety of sources. These sources can be made available so users may assess the integrity and objectivity of the data. While attention is given to present the most up-to-date information, The NJ MAP Team, and its funders, assume no responsibility for the spatial accuracy, completeness or timeliness of data used, and expressly disclaim any and all responsibility for errors, misinterpretations, omissions or other inconsistencies depicted arising from or otherwise related to the maps maintained within this site.

Maps and data sets found on this site are for planning activities only and cannot and should not be used for any regulatory purposes - this applies to both the parcel and state-wide levels. The information on this website should be used only as a guide; an on-site investigation is the only true way to know which features exist on the ground.