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Click here to visit the current NRCS Soil Science Division Web Site for the most up-to-date and complete information.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Soil Science Division is the lead agency for the National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS), a joint effort of Federal and State agencies, universities, and professional societies. The NCSS is committed to delivering science-based soils information that helps people be good stewards of the Nation’s soil, water, and related natural resources.

Soil Technical Resources

Information in this section will direct you to some of the most requested technical soils resources used to carry out the National Cooperative Soil Survey Program, and for users of soils information at all levels. For a more extensive listing of soil technical resources click here to visit the NRCS Soils website.

Version 3.0 of the Field Book for Describing and Sampling Soils is now available. The Field Book summarizes the present science and art of describing and documenting soils and soilscapes in the USA. The intended audience is professionals who describe soils for various purposes. The Field Book includes key descriptors, conventions, and concepts from soil science and geomorphology to facilitate field observations and soil documentation. The Field Book also aids in understanding soil descriptions and data found in soil surveys, dissertations, research papers, and general soil publications.

The National Soil Survey Handbook (NSSH) is a subdivision of the NRCS directives system. The NSSH provides operational and procedural policy and guidance for the soil survey program. The Soil survey staff at the National Soil Survey Center located in Lincoln, Nebraska, are the primary authors to this handbook. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. National soil survey handbook, title 430-VI.


Official Soil Series Descriptions (OSD's) with series extent mapping capabilities. Official Soil Series Descriptions are available online at:

Database Access

Soil Lab Data

National Cooperative Soil Survey Soil Characterization Data:

Hydric Soils

Hydric Soil Information
NRCS Soils site
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency site

State Soil Information

Hazelton - Pennsylvania State Soil (PDF, 93KB)

Professional Organizations and Career Options

Pennsylvania Association of Professional Soil Scientist
Mid-Atlantic Association of Professional Soil Scientist
Soil Science Society of America
Challenging Careers in NRCS



USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service
Yuri Plowden
State Soil Scientist
359 East Park Drive, Suite 2
Harrisburg, PA 17111-2747
Phone:  724-482-5287