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).
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.
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.
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).
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
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).
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
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
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.
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.