In July, the Illinois FarmLink team hosted our first event since expanding to serve the entire state. On behalf of our team, I demonstrated the utility of publicly available data in the webinar Using Online Data Tools in Your Farmland Search. Participants were taught how to use four online data tools that can aid in evaluating farm properties: County GIS systems, the Web Soil Survey, ISGS Well Mapper, and the National Flood Hazard Map.

The recording of this webinar is now available online. View here! 

As farmers can attest (and I’m one of them), it can often feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day – especially when trying to search for land while farming. We believe that wielding these online data tools effectively can save you time, reduce your risks, sharpen your land negotiations, and help you feel more confident in your farmland search!

Most Illinois counties, for example, have public websites with layers of geospatial data that can give you access to zoning and tax information, aerial imagery, various layers such as soil and topography, and measurement tools. These Geographic Information System (GIS) websites can be a trove of helpful information that can help you evaluate a farm property from the comfort of your home.

The Web Soil Survey can help you find in-depth soil data such as pH, organic matter, soil texture, drainage, and much more. And the ISGS Well Mapper will allow you to view well driller logs, evaluate wells on the property, or find information on nearby wells to get a sense for what installing one on your property might entail. Lastly, FEMA’s National Flood Hazard Layer allows you to determine whether the property is in a regulatory floodway or in a 100-year flood zone.

Of the attendees of our webinar, 90% felt the webinar left them better equipped to be successful and well-informed in their land access search. And we heard from a farmer who used the resources from the webinar the very next week to analyze a farm property. We hope you find it useful as well!

If you missed the live webinar, we invite you to check out our YouTube recording. Please reach out to me with any questions regarding the content of the webinar, or difficulties with one of the data tools discussed.

Here’s to a wonderful rest of your growing season,

Noah Scalero

Southern Illinois Navigator