For one of my agricultural projects, I really need reasonably accurate field boundaries for fields in the US, specifically Iowa right now but later, other similar states.

The USDA/NRSC/FSA Common Land Unit (CLU) data is exactly what I need, but apparently since 2008 it cannot be accessed by the public.

Does anyone know of a similar source, commercial or otherwise, of this type of data? I don't need much for attributes, just field boundaries that will let me aggregate analytic data within a field, accurately.

5 Answers 5


Update: The Geocommunities store has the CLU for the whole US: http://store.geocomm.com/viewproduct.phtml?catid=25&productid=2188

It lacks some of the original redacted attributes, but it's better than nothing.



"For further information contact GIS Specialists, Zack Adkins, at (801)844-2925 or David Davis at (801)844-2933. "

  • Yes, I'm aware of that. But the same document basically says you can't have it: Can I get a copy of the CLU data? CLU is not in the public domain. Section 1619 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill), only allows the sharing of this data to individuals or organizations (governmental or non-governmental) certified by FSA as working in cooperation with the Secretary of Agriculture. Users of the data must be providing assistance to USDA programs, and must require access to CLU data to complete that work. Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 23:12

I was able to find old (2006) CLU data for Iowa here, provided under each county. I don't know of national data for download/sale though.

I've worked with the CLU dataset before and found it to have mixed reliability in tracing field boundaries - some areas it's quite good, in others the field boundaries are way off. Have you considered using a 30m agricultural land cover dataset instead (e.g. Cropland Data Layer).

  • I've seen people who claim to have the 2008 CLU data, so I could probably get that if I need to, but even that is getting dated. I'm wondering if any commercial providers can supply this? Climate.com seems to have a good dataset, but I'm guessing they build it themselves. Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 23:14

Farm Market iD acquired the full CLU dataset from USDA in 2008, including grower details. We have kept the file up to date. We currently have the 2016 crop year detail available, tied to CLUs.

Anyone interested can contact me at [email protected].

Videos of data delivery platforms.



The following link is to a news release about the FMiD database update.


Disclosure: I work for Farm Market iD.

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    – Midavalo
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 16:46

You can obtain via bulk download for free the last released 2008 files here for free from Cornell University, Ag-Analtyics.Org


There is a readme in that directory with other info as well.

We also have them available for query via our API by contacting us at [email protected]

Here are the citations to include please:

"FSA Common Land Units obtained via Ag-Analytics.Org (Woodard,2016a; Woodard, 2016b)" or similar with the following references:

1.) Woodard, J.D., “Big data and Ag-Analytics: an open source, open data platform for agricultural & environmental finance, insurance, and risk,” Agricultural Finance Review, (2016) 76(1):15-26. 2.) Woodard, J.D., “Data Science and Management for Large Scale Empirical Applications in Agricultural and Applied Economics Research,” Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, (2016) 38(3): 373-388.

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    – Midavalo
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 23:24

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