Ownership is the separation - according to the USDA terminology - "of federal and nonfederal lands and the distinction between administrative units of land. Water areas are not classified according to ownership. The six categories of ownership are:
- Private. A type of ownership pertaining to land belonging to an individual person or persons, a partnership, or a corporation (all of which are persons in the legal sense), as opposed to the public or the government; private property.
- Municipal. A type of ownership pertaining to land belonging to the local government of a town or city.
- County or parish. A type of ownership pertaining to land belonging to an administrative subdivision of a state in the United States, which is identified as a county or an equivalent administrative unit in areas where counties do not exist; examples are parishes in Louisiana and boroughs in Alaska.
- State. A type of ownership pertaining to land belonging to one of the states, commonwealths, or territories of the United States of America.
- Federal land. A land ownership category designating land that is owned by the federal government. It does not include, for example, trust lands administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs or Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) land. No data are collected for any year that land is in this ownership.
- Indian tribal and individual Indian trust lands. A type of ownership of land administered by officially constituted Indian tribal or individual Indian trust entities. "