Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Forest Resource Management

Committee Chair

Jerald J Fletcher


The National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS) is the primary source of information on the soil resources in the U.S. The information provided by the NCSS program has played a significant and important role in diverse fields. This study estimates the net benefits of the information provided by the soil survey program to the production of selected crops. Benefit estimates are based on relative productivity gains related to the provision of soil information at the county level. The estimated value of increased crop yields less estimated soil survey production costs provides a lower-bound estimate of the total economic benefits of the NCSS.;The structure of the NCSS program provides a spatial-temporal pattern to the development of county level soil information that can be interpreted as a natural experiment where the outcomes provide a means of estimating a partial benefit of the value of soil survey information in agriculture production. Benefit-cost ratios are utilized to evaluate the effectiveness of the NCSS program.;A benefit-cost analysis of the NCSS for the corn and soybeans production regions based on a 7% discount rate gave a benefit-cost ratio of 7:1 for the correlation date scenario and 5:1 for the publication date scenario. This suggests that even the lower bound estimate of benefits based on productivity increases for just two crops, corn and soybeans, outweighs the cost of the entire soil survey program for the study region.;The results from the benefit-cost analysis suggest that the NCSS program is economically viable in areas of the country considered. This is a promising result given the incomplete nature of the currently available data. In summary, this research seeks to compute a lower-bound estimate of the economic benefits of the NCSS for major crops and thus contribute to the documentation of the value of information provided by the NCSS.