[photo, Baltimore Farmers' Market, Holliday St. and Saratoga St., Baltimore, Maryland]
  • Calendar of Maryland Harvests
  • County & State Fairs
  • Crops

  • Baltimore Farmers' Market, Holliday & Saratoga Sts., Baltimore, Maryland, September 2017. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    [photo, Baltimore Farmers' Market, Holliday St. and Saratoga St., Baltimore, Maryland]

    Baltimore Farmers' Market, Holliday & Saratoga Sts., Baltimore, Maryland, August 2012. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    Agriculture has played an important role in Maryland since its founding in 1634. While tobacco was the main crop, others, including wheat, corn, fruits and vegetables, also were farmed. During the American Revolution, Maryland's Eastern Shore earned the title, "Breadbasket of the Revolution," by steadily supplying flour to the Continental Army. Later, grains became the primary crops in Maryland and were an important and valuable export for the State. By the late 19th century, agriculture spread throughout the expanding United States and Maryland no longer was a primary supplier of grains for the nation. Today, agriculture in Maryland is diverse and includes not only crops, but also dairy and livestock, horticulture, poultry, and wineries and vineyards.
    [photo, Cow Judging, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland] The Department of Agriculture is responsible for marketing, animal industries, and consumer services; plant industries and pest management; and resource conservation. Data relating to the production and marketing of agricultural products, agriculture prices and income, and other statistics pertinent to agriculture and agribusiness is compiled and published by the Maryland Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    To teach the public about agriculture in Maryland, the Department of Agriculture has partnered with Maryland Public Television to create a series, Maryland Farm & Harvest.

    Cow Judging, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland, August 2014. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.

    [photo, Barn and brick silo, Sabillasville (Frederick County), Maryland] Approximately 350,000 people, including nearly 6,000 full-time farmers, are employed in some aspect of agriculture, making it the largest commercial industry in Maryland. Agriculture also remains the largest single land use in the State, with 2.03 million acres, or roughly 32 percent of total land area used for farming in 2017. While the majority of Maryland's farmland lies in the north central part of the State and the upper Eastern Shore, there are 17 urban farms in Baltimore City. In 2017, some 12,200 Maryland farms averaged 166 acres each.

    In 2016, some 111 farms and over 12,450 acres were certified organic in Maryland and their products sold for $17.7 million.

    Barn & brick silo, Sabillasville (Frederick County), Maryland, July 2007. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    [photo, Silos, Easton, Maryland] Created in 1977 within the Department of Agriculture, the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation is one of the first programs in the nation dedicated to the preservation of agricultural lands by purchasing easements that restrict any future development of farmlands or woodlands. By the end of Fiscal Year 2018, the Foundation had preserved some 312,800 acres on 2,302 properties.

    Silos, Easton, Maryland, May 2017. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    [photo, Dairy cows, Long Green Road, Glen Arm, Maryland] In Maryland by 2022, the work of the Foundation and its State and local government partners seeks to preserve 1,030,000 acres of agricultural land, including farmland, wooded areas, and open space. As of July 2017, some 627,265 acres, or 61%, have been preserved.

    In 2017, gross cash income from commodity (crop & animal) receipts and other farm-related work was approximately $2.52 billion, while net cash income was about $672 million. Total production expenses were $2.1 billion, while net farm income exceeded $678 million. The market value of all agricultural products totaled over $2.2 billion. In 2016, per farm expenses averaged $178,391, while income per farm averaged $42,091.

    Dairy cows, Long Green Road, Glen Arm, Maryland, August 2017. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.

    [photo, Waverly Farmers' Market, 32nd St. and Barclay St., Baltimore, Maryland] In 2015, Caroline County was ranked the top agricultural county in Maryland by a federal census taken every five years. Caroline led all other counties in barley, wheat, and vegetables. Queen Anne's County was first in its harvest of corn, wheat, and soybeans, while Frederick County led in milk production, with its dairy herds accounting for one third of the State's total.

    Waverly Farmers' Market, 32nd St. & Barclay St., Baltimore, Maryland, August 2009. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    [photo, Tractor exhibition, Cecil County Fair, Fair Hill, Maryland] CROPS
    In 2018, corn for grain averaged 146 bushels per acre. From 390,000 acres, 56.9 million bushels of corn were harvested. The soybean yield averaged 47.5 bushels per acre, with a total production of 24.46 million bushels. Winter wheat produced 63 bushels per acre, with 12.6 million bushels harvested. Barley production decreased to 1.68 million bushels, averaging 70 bushels per acre. In 2016, these cash grains were valued at $614 million.

    Tractor pull event, Cecil County Fair, Fair Hill, Maryland, July 2000. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    [photo, Pumpkin vines with flowers, Baltimore, Maryland] Fresh market vegetables and melons, including watermelons, snap beans, and cucumbers, were valued at $32.7 million in 2016. In 2018, potatoes were harvested from 2,000 acres and amounted to 510,000 hundredweight.

    According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2012 Census of Agriculture, some 3,973 acres in Maryland were covered by orchards, with apples and peaches the most productive crops. In 2016, apples and peaches were valued at $10.1 million and $2.6 million, respectively. In 2018, some 39.6 million pounds of apples and 2,670 tons of peaches were harvested.

    Pumpkin vines with flowers, Baltimore, Maryland, September 2016. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.

    [photo, Thresher, south of Hughesville, Maryland] In the fall after summer crops have been harvested,
    cover crops, including rye, barley, and other cereal grains, are planted. Cover crops control soil erosion and run-off, and improve the health of soil for later crops. To help with expenses associated with cover crops, the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program offers grants. For the 2018-2019 Program, $22.5 million in grants were awarded. Between 2016 and 2017, a record-breaking 561,344 acres of cover crops were planted in Maryland. Queen Anne's County ranked first for number of cover crop acres planted, with 67,025.

    Thresher, south of Hughesville, Maryland, November 2017. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    [photo, Sheep, Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, Howard County Fairgrounds, West Friendship, Maryland] In 2018, hay, including alfalfa, was harvested on 220,000 acres. In 2017, hay had a total production value of 559,000 tons worth $78,315,000.

    Milk production in 2017 totaled 953 million pounds, and the average milk production per cow was 19,854 pounds. The number of milk cows in 2018 was 44,000. In 2017, the State's 411 dairy farms brought in $169 million in sales.

    Sheep, Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, Howard County Fairgrounds, West Friendship, Maryland, May 2008. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    [photo, Silos on Kilby Cream Farm, 129 Strohmaier Lane, Rising Sun, Maryland] As of January 1, 2019, the total number of cattle and calves in Maryland was 197,000. In 2016, cash receipts for cattle and calves decreased to $79.5 million.

    To showcase the dairy industry and its contributions, and educate the public about farming, the Department of Agriculture each summer promotes the Maryland's Best Ice Cream Trail, a tour of nine dairy farms that runs more than 290 miles across the State. The dairies include Broom's Bloom Dairy (Harford County); Chesapeake Bay Farms (Worcester County); Keyes Creamery (Harford County); Kilby Cream (Cecil County); Misty Meadows Farm Creamery (Washington County); Prigel Family Creamery (Baltimore County); Rocky Point Creamery (Frederick County); South Mountain Creamery (Frederick County); and Woodbourne Creamery (Montgomery County).

    Silos on Kilby Cream Farm, 129 Strohmaier Lane, Rising Sun, Maryland, July 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.

    [photo, Cow, Kinder Farm Park, Millersville, Maryland] As of January 1, 2019, there were 50,000 beef cows in Maryland.

    As of January 1, 2014, approximately 2,200 milk goats and 12,600 goats were used for meat and other purposes in Maryland.

    Cow, Kinder Farm Park, Millersville, Maryland, January 2019. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    [photo, Goat mountain, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland] [photo, Hogs at Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland] As of December 1, 2018, the total number of hogs in Maryland was 19,000. Cash receipts for market hogs and pigs in 2016 were $6.05 million, down from $6.9 million in 2015.

    Goat mountain (left), September 2015, and Hogs (right), August 2014, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland. Photos by Sarah A. Hanks.

    [photo, Honeybees in a honeycomb, Crownsville, Maryland] HONEY
    As of July 1, 2017, some 15,204 honeybee colonies in 2,696 locations in Maryland are maintained by 2,140 beekeepers. These colonies produce upwards of 100,000 pounds of honey per year. In 2016, honey was valued at $631,000 in cash receipts.

    Honeybees not only produce honey and beeswax, but also pollinate nearly 40% of the food that we eat, including some $40 million of Maryland's crops.

    Honeybees in a honeycomb, Crownsville, Maryland, September 2014. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.

    Between 2014 and 2015, beekeepers in Maryland lost nearly 61% of their colonies. The
    Department of Agriculture's Apiary Program offers help and inspections to keep Maryland's bees and their hives healthy. In an effort to curb bee deaths in Maryland, the General Assembly passed the Pollinator Protection Act of 2016 (Chapter 662, Acts of 2016). As of 2018, retail establishments are prohibited from selling neonicotinoid pesticides to consumers, making Maryland the first state in the nation to protect bees by banning these pesticides.

    [photo, Clydesdale, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland] HORSE INDUSTRY
    Maryland has 10.5 horses per square mile, more than any other state in the nation. Some 101,457 horses live on 705,000 acres, or one quarter of the State's agricultural land, of which 88,000 acres are preserved through conservation programs. Over 16,040 equine facilities and 773
    licensed stables operate in Maryland. Annually, the horse industry adds more than $1.3 billion to the State's economy and supports 21,532 jobs, according to the 2018 Economic Impact Study from the American Horse Council.

    Horse racing, the largest of the industry's sectors, has a significant impact on the Maryland economy. Racing, which includes thoroughbred and harness racing, adds $365 million in value to the economy as well as supports 5,214 jobs. There are more than 260 live racing days held at Maryland's five racetracks each year, which has a $572 million economic impact on the State. At Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, the Preakness Stakes brings in more than $30 million each May.

    Clydesdale, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland, September 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.

    Other areas of the horse industry include competition, recreation, and therapy. Horse competitions, such as horse shows, add $162 million in value to Maryland's economy, as well as 3,346 jobs, while recreation, including riding lessons, add another $234 million and 4,971 jobs. Horse, or equine, therapy brings in $8.4 million and 189 jobs at more than 30 facilities. Combined, these areas have a total economic impact of more than $650 million. There are also over a dozen organizations that rescue and rehouse horses, including retired racehorses. Overall, the horse industry, including owners, participants, and organizations, has an economic impact of more than $2 billion on Maryland.

    The Maryland Horse Industry Board oversees and supports Maryland's horse owners and industry. The Board publishes a Guide to Maryland Horse Trails as well as Saddle Up Maryland, a directory of trail-riding stables and guided rides. The Board also provides information on horse parks, history trails, and horse discovery centers.

    The Thoroughbred is Maryland's State Horse.

     [photo, Bumblebees and a honeybee alight on a sunflower, Baltimore, Maryland] HORTICULTURE & NURSERIES
    Horticulture is the second largest agricultural industry in Maryland. In 2014, farm income in the horticultural industry totaled about $960 million, with $251 million in cash receipts.

    Nurseries use nearly 30,000 acres of land, including nearly 500 acres of greenhouses. There are over 25,000 people employed in the horticultural industry.

    Source: Maryland Nursery, Landscape, and Greenhouse Association.

    Bumblebees & a honeybee alight on a sunflower, Baltimore, Maryland, July 2014. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.

    [photo, Rooster, Annapolis, Maryland] POULTRY
    In 2017, Maryland ranked seventh among states in the number of broilers, or chickens raised for their meat, with 306.7 million birds produced. Their production value was $1 billion and 1.84 billion pounds. This amount accounted for 42% of Maryland's total cash farm income.

    In 2016, turkeys brought in some $19.6 million.

    Rooster, Annapolis, Maryland, August 2003. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    Egg production in Maryland increased to 833.7 million eggs in 2017 (up from 795.9 million in 2016), with each bird laying about 293 eggs annually. Most of Maryland's chicken operations have fewer than 3,000 birds, and, of these, 500 "small flocks" produce about 9.6 million eggs each year, while nine operations with more than 3,000 birds produce the rest. In 2015, cash receipts for eggs totaled $99 million.
    [photo, Baltimore Farmers' Market, Holliday St. and Saratoga St., Baltimore, Maryland]
    For farmers and others involved in agriculture, the
    University of Maryland Extension offers scientific expertise and resources through its network of county extension offices. The Extension is a statewide education system of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources within the University of Maryland, College Park.

    Baltimore Farmers' Market, Holliday St. & Saratoga St., Baltimore, Maryland, August 2013. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    [photo, Boordy Vineyards, Long Green Pike, Hydes, Baltimore County, Maryland] WINERIES & VINEYARDS
    Wineries and vineyards are a fast-growing segment of Maryland's specialty agriculture. In FY 2016, wineries sold 467,132 gallons of wine. Sales in 2015 were approximately $47 million. Together, 89 wineries throughout the State offer over 500 wines.

    Approximately 1,000 acres of vineyards are found in Maryland, with over 70 percent owned by wineries.

    Boordy Vineyards, Long Green Pike, Hydes, Baltimore County, Maryland, August 2014. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.

    The Governor's Advisory Commission on Maryland Wine and Grape Growing seeks to support Maryland's wineries and vineyards.

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