On a snowy Saturday recently several people braved the elements to learn about determining home sites on their land. The Homesite Selection and Care event was sponsored by several groups working together: the Johnson County Soil and Water Conservation District, the Youth Conservation Board, Franklin FFA Ag Alumni and Franklin FFA, with cooperation from other county and city agencies.
Chase Neville and Cole Campbell, both members of the Johnson County SWCD Youth Conservation Board, used Internet technology and projection equipment to demonstrate how to find your own land on the Web Soil Survey, and then how to determine what types of soil it contains.
The Youth Conservation Board is the only functioning one of its kind in the country. Youth from various schools in the county in grades 6-12 take on projects to learn about oils and conservation, and to help spread the message to the community.
The Web Soil Survey is a project of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The information on soils is very similar to what was printed in the Soil Survey books for each county, with the last one completed in the late '80s. However, you can access more information about soil descriptions and suitability for use on the Web than in the books.
The soil boundaries are going to be the same as the ones used to prepare the printed books. Those were based on the reports of soil scientists who walked each county taking cores to check soil types. Since they didn't walk every acre, the maps aren't 100% accurate, as you've found out if you're varying seeding or other input rates for precision farming, but provide a good starting point as to what to expect in a particular field.
What's different on the Web version is that the satellite images are up to date. You can track location by seeing what your area looks like, and photos are recent. In the printed books, photos were taken in the '70s, and many features have changed, even location of roads in developing areas.
Check out the Internet site to get started.