The 1987 Agricultural Census has been supplemented by a special survey of irrigators, which contains tabulations of irrigation data on U.S. farms and ranches in 1988. It provides county level data that relate water use to crops produced, sources of the water, and the technology used to apply irrigation water (USDC 1990).
The EPA's Pesticides in Ground Water Database identifies the pesticides that have been looked for in ground water, the areas monitored, and the pesticides detected. The EPA is using this database to identify areas where pesticide use has been a problem in order to evaluate the need for restricted usage. This database may be made available in the future in electronic form from EPA's Pesticide Information Network.
An agrichemical use database compiled by Resources For The Future, Inc., is called the National Herbicide Use Database of 1989-90. It summarizes use of 96 herbicides on 84 crops on a county basis.
The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has recently initiated a survey of the type and quantity of pesticides used on major crops. Initial data were gathered for pesticides on cotton in 1989. NASS has expanded the survey to corn, soybeans, sorghum, wheat, rice, peanuts, potatoes, vegetables, and fruits for 1990 and 1991.
The Pesticide Properties Database compiled by the SCS, Agricultural Research Service, and Extension Service (ES) describes the fate and transport characteristic of about 300 pesticides by crop and soil type. This database has been linked to the SCS soil databases to assist SCS and others in assessing pesticide leaching potential past the root zone.
Two agencies in the USDA, the Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) and the SCS, collect land information such as land cover and use, irrigation, drainage, crop history, crop yield, erosion rates, and conservation practices such as terracing and residue management for farmers and ranchers who participate in USDA farm programs. This information is collected on a farm field or ranch pasture basis and exists in digital tabular form for much of the country's private croplands. Field or pasture boundaries are drawn on aerial photographs at scales from 1:7,920 to 1:12,000, but are not available in digital form.
The extensive farm field and ranch pasture boundaries collected by ASCS and SCS need to be geo-referenced to be useful in a digital domain.