Oregon Land Conservation and Development Department

Rule Rule 660-033-0030
Identifying Agricultural Land


(1)

All land defined as “agricultural land” in OAR 660-033-0020 (Definitions)(1) shall be inventoried as agricultural land.

(2)

When a jurisdiction determines the predominant soil capability classification of a lot or parcel it need only look to the land within the lot or parcel being inventoried. However, whether land is “suitable for farm use” requires an inquiry into factors beyond the mere identification of scientific soil classifications. The factors are listed in the definition of agricultural land set forth at OAR 660-033-0020 (Definitions)(1)(a)(B). This inquiry requires the consideration of conditions existing outside the lot or parcel being inventoried. Even if a lot or parcel is not predominantly Class I-IV soils or suitable for farm use, Goal 3 nonetheless defines as agricultural “Lands in other classes which are necessary to permit farm practices to be undertaken on adjacent or nearby lands.” A determination that a lot or parcel is not agricultural land requires findings supported by substantial evidence that addresses each of the factors set forth in 660-033-0020 (Definitions)(1).

(3)

Goal 3 attaches no significance to the ownership of a lot or parcel when determining whether it is agricultural land. Nearby or adjacent land, regardless of ownership, shall be examined to the extent that a lot or parcel is either “suitable for farm use” or “necessary to permit farm practices to be undertaken on adjacent or nearby lands” outside the lot or parcel.

(4)

When inventoried land satisfies the definition requirements of both agricultural land and forest land, an exception is not required to show why one resource designation is chosen over another. The plan need only document the factors that were used to select an agricultural, forest, agricultural/forest, or other appropriate designation.
(5)(a) More detailed data on soil capability than is contained in the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) soil maps and soil surveys may be used to define agricultural land. However, the more detailed soils data shall be related to the NRCS land capability classification system.

(b)

If a person concludes that more detailed soils information than that contained in the Web Soil Survey operated by the NRCS, would assist a county to make a better determination of whether land qualifies as agricultural land, the person must request that the department arrange for an assessment of the capability of the land by a professional soil classifier who is chosen by the person, using the process described in OAR 660-033-0045 (Soils Assessments by Professional Soil Classifiers).

(c)

This section and OAR 660-033-0045 (Soils Assessments by Professional Soil Classifiers) apply to:

(A)

A change to the designation of a lot or parcel planned and zoned for exclusive farm use, forest use or mixed farm-forest use to a non-resource plan designation and zone on the basis that such land is not agricultural land; and

(B)

Excepting land use decisions under section (7) of this rule, any other proposed land use decision in which more detailed data is used to demonstrate that a lot or parcel planned and zoned for exclusive farm use does not meet the definition of agricultural land under OAR 660-033-0020 (Definitions)(1)(a)(A).

(d)

This section and OAR 660-033-0045 (Soils Assessments by Professional Soil Classifiers) implement ORS 215.211 (Agricultural land), effective on October 1, 2011. After this date, only those soils assessments certified by the department under section (9) of this rule may be considered by local governments in land use proceedings described in subsection (c) of this section. However, a local government may consider soils assessments that have been completed and submitted prior to October 1, 2011.

(e)

This section and OAR 660-033-0045 (Soils Assessments by Professional Soil Classifiers) authorize a person to obtain additional information for use in the determination of whether a lot or parcel qualifies as agricultural land, but do not otherwise affect the process by which a county determines whether land qualifies as agricultural land as defined by Goal 3 and OAR 660-033-0020 (Definitions).

(6)

Any county that adopted marginal lands provisions before January 1, 1993, may continue to designate lands as “marginal lands” according to those provisions and criteria in former ORS 197.247 (1991), as long as the county has not applied the provisions of ORS 215.705 (Dwellings in farm or forest zone) to 215.750 (Alternative forestland dwelling) to lands zoned for exclusive farm use.
(7)(a) For the purposes of approving a land use application on high-value farmland under ORS 215.705 (Dwellings in farm or forest zone), the county may change the soil class, soil rating or other soil designation of a specific lot or parcel if the property owner:

(A)

Submits a statement of agreement from the NRCS that the soil class, soil rating or other soil designation should be adjusted based on new information; or

(B)

Submits a report from a soils scientist whose credentials are acceptable to the Oregon Department of Agriculture that the soil class, soil rating or other soil designation should be changed; and

(C)

Submits a statement from the Oregon Department of Agriculture that the Director of Agriculture or the director’s designee has reviewed the report described in paragraph (a)(B) of this section and finds the analysis in the report to be soundly and scientifically based.

(b)

Soil classes, soil ratings or other soil designations used in or made pursuant to this section are those of the NRCS Web Soil Survey for that class, rating or designation, except for changes made pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

(8)

For the purposes of approving a land use application on high-value farmland under OAR 660-033-0090 (Uses on High-Value and Non High-Value Farmland), 660-033-0120 (Uses Authorized on Agricultural Lands), 660-033-0130 (Minimum Standards Applicable to the Schedule of Permitted and Conditional Uses) and 660-033-0135 (Dwellings in Conjunction with Farm Use), soil classes, soil ratings or other soil designations used in or made pursuant to this definition are those of the NRCS Web Soil Survey for that class, rating or designation.
Source

Last accessed
Jun. 8, 2021