Why is assigning a true and full value to agricultural land parcels important? Agricultural production is the largest component of the North Dakota economy, but agricultural land values were only recently updated for taxation purposes for the first time since the 1970s. Until 2009, many owners of agricultural land were taxed unjustly, since poor quality parcels were often taxed at the same rate as the most fertile parcels. As a result of hard work and much deliberation, the ND legislature concluded the 2007 Session by passing an Agricultural Land Valuation Mandate (House Bill 1303). The bill was introduced to require the consideration of an agricultural parcel’s actual use, in the determination of its true and full value. This action was to be completed by all counties in ND by January of 2009. See http://www.ndaco.org/?id=64&page=Resource+Links for more information.
This lesson uses digital geospatial data (vector and raster data) along with Esri software to classify land use and land cover within one section of agricultural land in Burke County, in northwest ND, to demonstrate how soil productivity can be used to assess land values.
Agriculture – Natural Resources, Land Parcel Tax Assessments
Introductory. Lower College (13-14) and secondary (11-12)
Student Handout and Data
To download the Student Handout and Introductory PowerPoint click here (Word / Pdf). The instructor may wish to use their own materials and download the most up-to-date materials from the soils service (see links below. Satellite imagery (grid files) and other geospatial layers (aerial imagery and vector files) must be downloaded.
Developed by the Integrated Geospatial Education and Technology Training (iGETT) project, with funding from the National Science Foundation (DUE-0703185) to the National Council for Geographic Education. Opinions expressed are those of the author and are not endorsed by NSF. Available for educational use only. See http://igett.delmar.edu for additional remote sensing exercises and other instructional materials. Created 2011; last modified January 2012.
Student Learning Objectives
- Discover how Landsat satellite imagery, NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) soils data, and ND GIS Hub vector overlays (raster, vector, and orthophoto files) can be used in tandem to answer geographic questions in local county government.
- Become familiar with geospatial software, policy, and tax office applications used in state and local government agencies.
- Practice oral and written communication skills to present data in a clear and concise manner.
- Work in teams and develop critical thinking skills.
Class Time Need for Exercise
This exercise will take between 2 and 3 weeks of a 3-semester hour class. Each class period will start with a short lecture and software demonstration of what the final product should look like. The remainder of the class period will consist of hands-on computer lab time. Depending on time constraints, the instructor may want to demonstrate the download process for the class, placing the downloaded the data into a class folder for students to copy into their own folders.
Software Required for Exercise
- ArcGIS 10 with Spatial Analyst Extension and Service Pack 4
- Internet Access/Computer Lab
- Prerequisite of Introduction to ArcGIS or equivalent is required for this course
Applying Geospatial Understanding and Skills
- Describe the functionality of ArcGIS for land use classifications.
- Explain the components of geospatial data models, the differences between raster and vector data, and file structures.
- Critically evaluate and articulate how county government entities and the Natural Resources Conservation Service use GIS for identification of geospatial careers in these organizations.
- List the steps necessary to assess taxation standards for agricultural land parcels in ND.
- Perform geospatial analyses (geographic inquiry) using a variety of data formats including vector, raster, and image files.
- Digitize, correlate, and join tables to agricultural land parcel polygons in ArcView.
- Present both oral and written reports on data findings.
Scientific And/Or Geographic Concepts
- Recognize why agricultural land parcels should be taxed and assessed differently dependent on different geographic regions within the state.
- Understand how remotely sensed images can supply a unique digital perspective on displaying Earth images.
- Summarize the important spatial interaction between natural resources and the human population that can be delineated through remote sensing
2007 National Technology Standards
One: Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
Two: Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
Three: Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
Four: Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.
Five: Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.
Six: Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology, concepts, systems, and operations.
National Geography Standards
One: How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective
Four: The physical and human characteristics of places
Seven: The physical processes that shape the patterns of Earth’s surfaces
Fourteen: How human actions modify the physical environment
Eighteen: How to apply geography to interpret the present and plan for the future.
Evaluation & Deliverables
Students will present their final work and analysis of the final map. This is to be a PowerPoint presentation. Final map will be graded.
A short pre-quiz is recommended to access student knowledge of soils series and their applications related to the agricultural taxation process. Questions target the general and specific history and economic differences between agricultural land parcels, satellite resolution, bands and calculations used for delineation, and verification of analysis. This pre-quiz and the same quiz as a post-quiz are provided below:
Quiz #1 - Pre-and Post-Assessment Quiz
Classification of Soil Valuation and Agricultural Land Parcel Taxation
- What is the NRCS? What is its function?
- What is a soil survey?
- How is a soil survey generated?
- What is the difference between an agricultural land tax and a non-agricultural land tax? Compare and contrast.
- Which MS-Office database does Web Soil Survey tabular data provide?
- Describe an unsupervised image classification.
- North Dakota State Tax Department
- Summary of How ND Handles Agricultural Land Tax
- Ward County Tax Equalization Assessment Process
http://esri.com – Library
Bismarck State College
Original activity for use with ENVI/ArcGIS 9x developed by Angela Milakovic
Adapted to use only ArcGIS 10 by Christine Lewis and Todd Jorgensen