In Advantage Acre one of the methods used to create fields is by selecting Common Land Units, better known as CLUs. In this article we will briefly go over Who Created Common Land Units (CLUs), What are CLUs, and How Did They Get into Advantage Acre?
The USDA and several agencies within the USDA developed the CLU system starting in 1998. The USDA took legacy paper maps and orthophotos and digitized them to make polygon GIS maps. The purpose of this digitization process was part of the larger digitization of USDA data to be able to layer multiple data types for analysis.
What is a CLUs: Common Land Unit (CLU) is the smallest unit of land that has a permanent, contiguous boundary, a common land cover and land management, a common owner and a common producer in agricultural land associated with USDA farm programs. CLU boundaries are delineated from relatively permanent features such as fence lines, roads, and/or waterways. (from https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/aerial-photography/imagery-products/common-land-unit-clu/index)
In 2008 Congress restricted the use of CLUs for only government purposes. The 2008 CLU dataset was available for purchase for several years after 2008 (hard to find today) and Advantage Acre was able to obtain this dataset to help in the creation of fields in Advantage Acre. The dataset we obtained is fairly complete but is lacking the parcel data in large parts of Michigan.
If you are interested in learning more about CLUs please see the attached two pdf document.