[photo, Baltimore Farmers' Market, Holliday St. and Saratoga St., Baltimore, Maryland]
  • Calendar of Maryland Harvests
  • County & State Fairs
  • Crops
  • Dairy & Livestock
  • Farm Resources
  • Baltimore Farmers' Market, Holliday & Saratoga Sts., Baltimore, Maryland, September 2017. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    [photo, Hog, Kinder Farm Park, Millersville, Maryland]

    Hog, Kinder Farm Park, Millersville, Maryland, April 2019. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    [photo, Baltimore Farmers' Market, Holliday St. and Saratoga St., Baltimore, Maryland] Agriculture has played an important role in Maryland since its founding in 1634. While tobacco then was the main crop, wheat, corn, fruits and vegetables also were farmed. By steadily supplying flour to the Continental Army, Maryland's Eastern Shore earned the title, "Breadbasket of the Revolution" during the American Revolution. Later, grains became the primary crops in Maryland and were an important and valuable export for the State. By the late 19th century, as agriculture spread throughout the expanding United States, 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, honey, horticulture and nurseries, poultry, and wineries and vineyards.

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

    [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 weekly 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] Agriculture is the largest commercial industry in Maryland, employing some 350,000 people, including nearly 6,000 full-time farmers. Agriculture also remains the largest single land use in the State, nearly 2 million acres, or roughly 32 percent of total land area used for farming in 2018. While the majority of Maryland's farmland lies in the north central part of the State and the upper Eastern Shore, about 20 urban farms thrive in Baltimore City. In 2018, some 12,400 Maryland farms averaged 161 acres each.

    In 2018, some 124 farms were certified organic in Maryland. In 2017, organic products were valued at over $30 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. By 2022, the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation and its State and local government partners seek to preserve 1,030,000 acres of agricultural land, including farmland, wooded areas, and open space. As of June 30, 2018, some 650,544 acres toward that total, or 63%, have been preserved.

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

    [photo, Dairy cows, Long Green Road, Glen Arm, Maryland] In 2017, gross cash income from commodity (crop & animal) receipts and other farm-related work was approximately $2.5 billion, while net cash income was about $675 million, or $52,997 per farm. Total production expenses were $2.1 billion, while net farm income exceeded $679 million. The market value of all agricultural products totaled over $2.2 billion. In 2017, per farm expenses averaged $171,703, while income per farm averaged $55,656.

    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.

    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] Along with raising crops and animals, Maryland farmers earn income from agricultural tourism. In 2017, some 300 farms made 9% of their income through these services.

    In 2017, grain sales were valued over $575 million.

    Corn. In 2018, corn to be used for grain averaged 146 bushels per acre. From 390,000 acres, 56.9 million bushels of corn were harvested with a value of $216.4 million.

    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] Soybeans. The soybean yield averaged 47.5 bushels per acre, with a total production of 24.46 million bushels from 515,000 acres worth $206.7 million.

    Wheat. In 2018, winter wheat produced 63 bushels per acre, with 12.6 million bushels harvested from 200,000 acres worth $60.5 million. The 2019 forecasted production of winter wheat is 12.4 million bushels.

    Barley. Barley production decreased to 1.68 million bushels, averaging 70 bushels per acre with 24,000 acres harvested with $4.54 million.

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

    [photo, Pumpkin vines with flowers, Baltimore, Maryland] Selected fresh market vegetables and melons, including sweet corn, watermelons, snap beans, and cucumbers, were harvested from 29,339 acres and were valued at $71.3 million in 2017. In 2018, potatoes were harvested from 2,000 acres and amounted to 510,000 hundredweight worth $5.97 million.

    Fruits & Tree Nuts. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2017 Census of Agriculture, orchards in Maryland covered some 4,183 acres and were worth $23.7 million. Apples (1,793 acres) and grapes (1,170 acres on 187 farms) became the most productive crops. In 2018, some 39.6 million pounds of apples 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 2019-2020 Program, $22.5 million in grants will be awarded. Between 2017 and 2018, some 395,862 acres of traditional cover crops were planted in Maryland.

    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] Hay. In 2018, hay, including alfalfa, was harvested on 195,000 acres with a total production value of 552,000 tons worth $91.1 million.

    Maryland milk production in 2018 totaled 925 million pounds with a value of $149.6 million, and the average milk production per cow was 20,556 pounds. In 2018, the number of dairy farms was 364, and the number of milk cows was 44,000.

    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] Cattle. As of January 1, 2019, the total number of cattle and calves in Maryland was 197,000. In 2017, market value for cattle and calves was over $75 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.

    Goats. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, approximately 3,848 milk goats and 9,263 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] Hogs. As of December 1, 2018, the total number of hogs in Maryland was 19,000. Cash receipts for the 64,614 market hogs and pigs sold in 2017 were $7.25 million, up from $6.05 million in 2016.

    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 16, 2019, some 15,498 honeybee colonies in Maryland are maintained by 2,098 beekeepers in 2,639 locations. These colonies produce upwards of 100,000 pounds of honey per year. In 2017, honey was valued at $588,000 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. Due to the shortage of bees, Maryland farmers rent 5,000 colonies each year and beekeepers send their colonies to out-of-state growers.

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

    According to the Bee Informed Partnership, between April 2017 and 2018, beekeepers
    surveyed in Maryland lost an average of 64% their colonies. These colonies are vital to Maryland's agriculture since nearly all of the State's wild bee have died. 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). Since 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 16,000 equine facilities and 765
    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 2017, horticulture, which includes nurseries and greenhouses, made up 9% of all agricultural items that were sold.

    In 2017, nurseries used over 36,000 acres of land, including over 800 acres of greenhouses. There are over 25,000 people employed in the horticultural industry.

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

    [photo, Rooster, Annapolis, Maryland] POULTRY
    In 2018, the number of broilers, or chickens raised for their meat, decreased from 306.7 million birds to 289.4 million produced. Their production value was $970 million and 1.73 billion pounds, while in 2017, turkeys brought in some $15.5 million.

    Egg production in Maryland decreased to 780.6 million eggs in 2018 (from 839.8 million in 2017), with each of the 2.8 million birds laying about 290 eggs annually. Most 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. Market value for egg production is $60.7 million.

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

    [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, BREWERIES & DISTILLERIES
    During Prohibition from 1920 to 1933, Maryland, seeing the
    18th Amendment as a violation of states' rights, was the only state that refused to enforce the federal law banning the production, sale, and transportation of alcohol. Following Prohibition's repeal, the industry prospered for some years, but eventually businesses ceased operations throughout the State. In recent years, Maryland has seen a rapid increase in the number of wineries, breweries, and distilleries that have opened. Currently, 168 businesses produce craft beverages with a total gross output of $591 million. In 2018, wineries, breweries, and distilleries employed 1,280 people.

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

    Wineries. Each Maryland county has at least one vineyard and most have a winery as well. In Fiscal Year 2018, wineries sold 200,000 cases of wine. Sales in 2018 were approximately $50 million. Together, 98 wineries throughout the State produce over 500 wines. Wine trails across the State offer regional wines with distinctive flavors. Wineries and vineyards may be eligible for the Wineries and Vineyards Tax Credit (WVTC) .

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

    Breweries. Over 100 licensed breweries operate throughout Maryland. In Fiscal Year 2018, they sold 8 million gallons, or 52 million bottles, for $100 million. In August 2018, Guinness opened a brewery and taproom in Halethorpe, Baltimore County, its only brewery in the United States. The University of Maryland Extension, in partnership with Flying Dog Brewery, produced the "Maryland Hop Growers Guide: A Progress Report on the 2016-2017 Growing Season and Summary of Best Practices for Growing Hops in Maryland."

    Distilleries. As of July 2019, Maryland has 27 distilleries which produce bourbon, gin, and rye, as well as other spirits, with many businesses using local ingredients.

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