WSDA Crop Locator
Washington state produces some 300 crops. Finding data on these crops can often mean jumping back and forth between state and federal government sites. The Washington State Department of Agriculture offers a new tool on their website that consolidates all these different data sets to make information easily accessible to people. This agricultural land use geodatabase goes beyond crop locating, as WSDA’s Jason Kelly explains.
KELLY: One of the things that we’re using the data for is to track agricultural pests. It’s a major issue of concern for growers out there, and so we want to know where incoming invasive species could travel next and what threat they could pose to different areas of the state.
This tool can benefit commodity groups as well.
KELLY: You can use the map to get kind of a visual picture, but you can also download the data behind the map - the section level data, county data, statewide data. Commodity groups are using this data set to develop acreage estimates for what crops might be growing this year, and it’s very helpful in their marketing efforts.
It’s also a bit of a “myth buster”.
KELLY: Another interesting thing you can use this tool for is to see where development in urban areas is impacting agricultural lands. There’s a lot of discussion about how urban development is eating up farmland in western Washington, but if you use this tool you can see that areas near the Tri-Cities, Wenatchee, Chelan, Yakima, have actually experienced more loss of farmland in recent years than areas of King County or Snowhomish County.
I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network.