Wineries & Vineyards
Baltimore Farmers' Market, Holliday St. & Saratoga St., Baltimore, Maryland, August 2012. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
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.
The Department of Agriculture has partnered with Maryland Public Television to create a series, Maryland Farm & Harvest, to teach the public about agriculture in Maryland.
Cow Judging, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland, August 2014. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.
Approximately 350,000 people 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 2.02 million acres, or roughly 32 percent of total land area used for farming in 2015. The majority of Maryland's farmland lies in the north central part of the State and the upper Eastern Shore. In 2015, some 12,200 Maryland farms averaged 166 acres each. Today, 100 farms and over 7,679 acres are certified organic in Maryland.
Barn and brick silo, Sabillasville (Frederick County), Maryland, July 2007. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
The Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation, created in 1977 within the Department of Agriculture, 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 2015, some 296,682 acres on 2,187 properties have been preserved at a cost of $662.4 million.
Through the work of the Foundation and its State and local government partners, there is a goal to preserve 1,030,000 acres of agricultural land, including farmland, wooded areas, and open space, in Maryland by 2022. By July 2015, 608,493 acres, or 59%, have been preserved.
In 2014, the gross cash income from commodity (crop & animal) receipts and other farm-related work was approximately $2.7 billion, while the net cash income was about $676 million. Total production expenses exceeded $2.3 billion, while per farm expenses averaged $191,747. Net farm income was over $590 million, while income per farm averaged $47,580. The market value of all agricultural products totaled over $2.4 billion.
Waverly Farmers' Market, 32nd St. & Barclay St., Baltimore, Maryland, August 2009. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
In 2014, Caroline County was ranked the top agricultural county in Maryland. It led all other counties in barley and vegetables. Queen Anne's County was first in its harvest of corn, wheat, and soybeans, while Frederick County led in milk production.
In 2015, corn for grain averaged 164 bushels per acre. From 380,000 acres, 62.3 million bushels of corn were harvested. The soybean yield averaged 40 bushels per acre, with a total production of 20.6 million bushels. Winter wheat produced 64 bushels per acre, with 17.28 million bushels harvested. Barley production increased to 2.42 million bushels, averaging 69 bushels per acre.
Tractor pull event, Cecil County Fair, Fair Hill, Maryland, July 2000. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Fresh market vegetables and melons, including watermelons, snap beans, and cucumbers, were valued at $35.6 million in 2015, while the potato crop was worth $8.31 million.
In 2012, some 3,973 acres were covered by orchards in Maryland, with apples and peaches the most productive crops. In 2014, nearly 1,900 acres of apple orchards and 800 acres of peach orchards were valued at $13.9 million.
Cover crops, including rye, barley, and other cereal grains, are planted in the fall after summer crops have been harvested. Cover crops control soil erosion and run-off, and improve the health of soil for later crops. The Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program offers grants to help with expenses associated with cover crops. Using $24 million in grants, a record-breaking 492,244 acres of cover crops were planted in Maryland between 2015 and 2016. Queen Anne's County ranked first for number of cover crop acres planted, with 59,716.6. In 2016, Maryland farmers have access to $22.5 million in grants for cover crops.
DAIRY & LIVESTOCK
Milk production in 2015 totaled 983 million pounds, and the average milk production per cow was 20,061 pounds. The number of milk cows in 2015 was 49,000. The State's 463 dairy farms brought in $173 million in sales.
Sheep, Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, Howard County Fairgrounds, West Friendship, Maryland, May 2008. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
As of January 1, 2016, the total number of cattle and calves in Maryland was 190,000. Cash receipts for cattle and calves decreased to $97.1 million in 2015.
Frederick County leads the State in milk production - its dairy herds account for one third of the State's total.
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.
In 2015, there were 43,000 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.
Goat mountain, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland, September 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.
In 2015, the total number of hogs and pigs in Maryland was 45,000. Cash receipts for market hogs and pigs in 2015 were $6.9 million, down from $10.2 million in 2014.
Hogs at Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland, August 2014. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.
More than 14,594 honeybee colonies in 2,469 locations in Maryland are maintained by 1,895 beekeepers. These colonies produce upwards of 100,000 pounds of honey per year. In 2014, honey was worth $488,000.
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.
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). Starting in 2018, retail establishments will be prohibited from selling neonicotinoid pesticides to consumers, making Maryland the first state in the nation to ban these pesticides.
Maryland has more horses per square mile than any other state in the nation. Some 79,100 horses live on 587,000 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 770 licensed stables operate in Maryland. In 2012, the horse industry was valued at $5.6 billion and employed more than 28,000 people. Annually, over $1 billion is spent in the horse industry, with about half for operating and capital expenditures, and the rest for betting on horse races.
The Maryland Horse Industry Board oversees and supports Maryland's horse owners and industry. The Board also provides information on horse parks, history trails, and horse discovery centers.
The Thoroughbred is Maryland's State Horse.
Clydesdale, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland, September 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.
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.
In 2014, Maryland ranked ninth among states in the number of broilers, or chickens raised for their meat, with 288 million birds produced. Their production value was $990 million and 1.5 billion pounds. This amount accounted for 41% of Maryland's total cash farm income that year.
Turkeys brought in some $18 million.
Rooster, Annapolis, Maryland, August 2003. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Egg production in Maryland increased to 785 million eggs in 2014 (up from 673 million in 2013), with each bird laying about 282 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 2014, cash receipts for eggs totaled $70 million.
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.
WINERIES & VINEYARDS
Wineries and vineyards are a fast-growing segment of Maryland's specialty agriculture. In FY 2014, wineries sold 384,498 gallons of wine with sales of approximately $29 million. The 75 wineries throughout the State offer over 420 wines.
Boordy Vineyards, Long Green Pike, Hydes, Baltimore County, Maryland, August 2014. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.
There are some 858 acres of vineyards in Maryland, with over 70 percent owned by wineries.
The Governor's Advisory Commission on Maryland Wine and Grape Growing and the Maryland Wine and Grape Promotion Council seek to support Maryland's wineries and vineyards.
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© Copyright June 10, 2016 Maryland State Archives