Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Poudel, Krishna P.

Committee Member

Yang, Jia

Committee Member

Yang, Yun

Committee Member

Kanieski Da Silva, Bruno

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Forest Resources


Department of Forestry


This study identified marginal agricultural lands in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley using crop yield predicting models. The Random Forest Regression (RFR) and Multiple Linear Regression (MLR) models were trained and validated using county-level crop yield data, climate data, soil properties, and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). The RFR model outperformed MLR model in estimating soybean and corn yields, with an index of agreement (d) of 0.98 and 0.96, Nash-Sutcliffe model efficiency (NSE) of 0.88 and 0.93, and root mean square error (RMSE) of 9.34% and 5.84%, respectively. Marginal agricultural lands were estimated to 26,366 hectares using cost and sales price in 2021 while they were estimated to 623,566 hectares using average cost and sales price from 2016 to 2021. The results provide valuable information for land use planners and farmers to update field crops and plan alternative land uses that can generate higher returns while conserving these marginal lands.