What Crops Are Grown In Maryland?

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What Crops Are Grown In Maryland
AGRICULTURE – Aquaculture 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.

Farm Revenue Farmers’ Markets Hemp Honey Horse Industry Horticulture & Nurseries Poultry Wineries, Breweries & Distilleries

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

Sassafras, Maryland’s state soil, is one of the first and oldest soil series in the nation, having been established in 1901, and is designated as a Benchmark and Hall of Fame series. It is found across much of the State, nearly 500,000 acres, and is categorized as prime farmland soil due to its productive value. 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.
  • According to the Service, Maryland’s top commodities in 2020 ranked by sale were poultry; grain; milk; cattle and calves; eggs; hogs; oilseeds, dry beans, dry peas; nursery, greenhouse, floriculture, sod; and vegetables, melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
  • Cow Judging, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland, August 2014.

Photo by Sarah A. Hanks. 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, Agriculture is the largest commercial industry in Maryland, employing some 350,000 people, including nearly 6,000 full-time farmers, and contributing some $8.25 billion annually to the economy. Agriculture also remains the largest single land use in the State, with 2 million acres, or roughly 32 percent of total land area used for farming in 2021.

  1. While the majority of Maryland’s farmland lies in the north central part of the State and the upper Eastern Shore, more than 20 urban farms thrive in Baltimore City.
  2. In 2021, some 12,400 Maryland farms averaged 161 acres each.
  3. According to the 2017 Census, 96% farms are family owned.
  4. Barn & brick silo, Sabillasville (Frederick County), Maryland, July 2007.

Photo by Diane F. Evartt. In Fiscal Year 2021, some 105 farms were certified organic in Maryland. In 2019, these farms were located on 17,196 acres and sold $50.1 million in products, including dairy items, fruits and vegetables, grains, livestock, and poultry.

  1. Near the Chesapeake Bay and near Maryland farm lands, sea levels are rising at double the world’s average rate.
  2. Along with climate change, farms on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore increasingly are affected by saltwater intrusion, or the movement of saltwater towards land that occurs when too much freshwater is removed from aquifers, and the settling of the land itself.

Saltwater, whether through aquifer intrusion or tides, has increasingly encroached into farm fields, leaving the soil’s salt content too high to grow crops and causing more farmland acres to be left unplanted. The General Assembly ordered the Department of Planning, along with the Departments of Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources, to devise a plan to adapt to saltwater intrusion and update it every five years ( Chapter 628, Acts of 2018 ). 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 2021, the Foundation had preserved some 337,182 acres. By 2030, 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 November 9, 2021, some 853,527 acres toward that total, or nearly 83%, have been preserved.

Also in 2021, to help with agricultural land preservation, the General Assembly authorized two more programs, the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) and the Next Generation Farmland Acquisition Program ( Chapter 285, Acts of 2021 ). Silos, Easton, Maryland, May 2017. In 2020, gross cash income from commodity (crop & animal) receipts and other farm-related work was approximately $2.53 billion, while net cash income was about $463 million, or $37,369 per farm. Total production expenses were approximately $2.26 billion, or $182,325 per farm, while net farm income exceeded $392.4 million, $31,650 per farm.

In 2020, the cash receipts of all agricultural products totaled approximately $2.1 billion. Along with raising crops and animals, Maryland farmers earn income from agricultural tourism, or agritourism, According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, some 295 farms supplemented their income through agritourism, including farmers markets or farm stands, farm visits, and county fairs.

Throughout Maryland, agritourism events generate over $162 million for the economy and help support more than 1,000 jobs. Dairy cows, Long Green Road, Glen Arm, Maryland, August 2017. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks. In 2020, direct payments from federal farm programs were approximately $173.5 million, up significantly from $109.7 million in 2019.

  • Price Loss Coverage saw the largest increase, rising from $1.9 million in 2019 to $7.8 million in 2020.
  • Other programs that benefited from the payments include Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), Conservation, Market Facilitation, Dairy Margin Coverage, Supplemental and ad hoc disaster assistance, and other miscellaneous programs.

The Department of Agriculture’s Maryland’s Best Program promotes products grown in the State, including fruits, vegetables, meats, and wine. Owing to the increased sales, each $1 spent on marketing the products has a return of $15 for the farmers and State. CROPS In 2021, field crops were harvested from 1.53 million acres, about 70% of all Maryland farmland. Their 2020 cash receipts were valued at over $1.01 billion. Barley. Barley production increased to 1.35 million bushels in 2021, averaging 75 bushels per acre with 18,000 acres harvested for a production value of nearly $5 million.

  • Corn. In 2021, 74.4 million bushels of corn for grain were harvested from 425,000 acres, an average of 175 bushels per acre, for a value of $442.5 million.
  • In 2021, some 700,000 tons of silage corn were harvested from 35,000 acres.
  • Waverly Farmers’ Market, 32nd St., Baltimore, Maryland, August 2009.
  • Photo by Diane F.

Evartt. Hay. In 2021, from 34,000 acres, Maryland farmers harvested 112,000 tons of alfalfa hay worth $23.6 million. In 2021, overall hay production included 426,000 tons harvested from 199,000 acres (2.14 ton per acre) with a value of $67 million. Mushrooms. Wheat. In 2021, from 160,000 acres of winter wheat, 12.6 million bushels (79 bushels per acre) were harvested worth $82.2 million. Selected fresh market vegetables and melons were harvested from 29,339 acres and were valued at $71.3 million, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture,

These include sweet corn (over 8,000 acres), watermelon (over 3,700 acres) and snap beans (over 3,100 acres), and cucumbers. In 2018, potatoes were harvested from 2,200 acres and amounted to 510,000 hundredweight with cash receipts of $10.4 million. Pumpkin vines with flowers, Baltimore, Maryland, September 2016.

Photo by Sarah A. Hanks. Fruits, Tree Nuts, & Berries. According to the 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. 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 Cover Crop Program offers grants.

Between 2020-2021, some 433,116 acres of traditional cover crops were planted in Maryland using nearly $20 million in grant funding. Another program, the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program, provided $3.9 million in grants to help farmers install 257 conservation projects. Thresher, south of Hughesville, Maryland, November 2017.

Harvesting Corn in Maryland | MD F&H

Photo by Diane F. Evartt. DAIRY & LIVESTOCK Maryland milk production in 2021 totaled 875 million pounds and the average milk production per cow was 20,833 pounds. In 2021, the average number of dairy farms was 325 while the number of milk cows was 42,000. Cash receipts for dairy products and milk in 2021 was $158.4 million.

Cattle. As of January 1, 2022, the total number of cattle in Maryland was 165,000. In 2019, production value for cattle and calves was over $76.4 million. Also as of January 1, 2022, there were 42,000 beef cows in Maryland. Cash receipts for cattle and calves in 2020 was $64 million. Cow, Kinder Farm Park, Millersville, Maryland, January 2019.

Photo by Diane F. Evartt. 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 ten dairy farms that runs more than 290 miles across the State.

The dairies include Brooms Bloom Dairy (Harford County), Chesapeake Bay Farms (Worcester County), Deliteful Dairy (Washington County), Keyes Creamery (Harford County), Kilby Cream (Cecil County), Misty Meadow Farm Creamery (Washington County), Prigel Family Creamery (Baltimore County), Rocky Point Creamery (Frederick County), South Mountain Creamery (Frederick County), and Woodbourne Creamery at Rock Hill Orchard (Montgomery County).

Alpacas & Llamas. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, there were 1,660 alpacas and 168 llamas on 146 and 43 farms, respectively. Bison. In 2017, there were 43 bison on 5 farms in Maryland. Silos on Kilby Cream Farm, 129 Strohmaier Lane, Rising Sun, Maryland, July 2015. Goats & Sheep. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, approximately 3,848 milk goats, 9,263 goats for meat and other purposes, and 23,399 sheep and lambs were in Maryland. In 2020, wool brought in $132,000 in cash receipts. Goat mountain (left), September 2015, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland. Hogs. As of December 1, 2021, the total number of hogs in Maryland was 22,000. In 2020, cash receipts from hogs and pigs totaled $6.34 million. In 2019, there were 37,000 pigs in Maryland. HEMP The Maryland Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program was launched in 2019 to encourage research of industrial hemp and its growth, harvest, production, and sale for agricultural objectives.

Under the Program, farmers must partner with the Department of Agriculture or a university to grow the hemp for research purposes only. In 2021, some 36 farmers partnered with six universities on hemp research. Started in 2021, the Maryland Hemp Farming Program is for those interested in growing hemp commercially.

In its first year, 63 farmers registered under the Program. Hogs, August 2014, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s first National Hemp Report, 26 acres of industrial hemp grown in the open were harvested in 2021. HONEY In 2021, some 18,592 honeybee colonies in Maryland are maintained by 2,335 beekeepers at 2,932 apiaries. These colonies produce upwards of 100,000 pounds of honey per year. In 2020, honey was brought in $667,000 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. In 2020, some 3,190 entry permits and 2,000 exit permits were issued for honeybee colonies. Honeybees in a honeycomb, Crownsville, Maryland, September 2014. Photo by Sarah A.

Hanks. According to the Bee Informed Partnership, between 2020 and 2021, beekeepers surveyed in Maryland lost an average of 38.78% of their colonies. These colonies are vital to Maryland’s agriculture since nearly all of the State’s wild bees have died.

The Department of Agriculture ‘s Apiary Inspection 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.

Along with honeybees, which are actually native to Europe, Africa, and Asia, there are over 430 species of native bees in Maryland, including mason bees and bumblebees. Some of those native species, such as the Rusty Patched Bumblebee, are endangered, 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.

In Fiscal Year 2021, over 16,000 equine facilities and 782 licensed stables (including those for boarding, lessons, rental, & rescue) operated 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, HORTICULTURE & NURSERIES In 2017, horticulture, which includes nurseries and greenhouses, made up 9% of all agricultural items that were sold and was the third largest agricultural sector in sales. According to the 2018 Maryland Horticulture Survey, some 27,054 acres of farmland were used for horticultural production, and growers sold approximately $1.4 billion in products.

Moreover, nearly 25,000 people were employed in the horticultural industry. In 2020, the Maryland Nursery Inspection Program licensed 297 nurseries and 1,456 plant sellers, and certified over 10,537 stock acres and 12,070,024 square feet of greenhouse space. Bumblebees & honeybee on sunflower, Baltimore, Maryland, July 2014.

Photo by Sarah A. Hanks. The Maryland Gingseng Management Program works to protect American ginseng from overharvesting and to ensure its viability. Ginseng can be wild, wild-simulated, woods-grown, or cultivated. The Program monitors the ginseng harvest as well as licenses its diggers and dealers. POULTRY In 2021, the number of broilers, or chickens raised for their meat, was 259.9 million with a value of $912.5 million. Poultry production value in 2020 was $738.4 million. Also in 2020, turkeys brought in some $16.2 million. Perdue Farms, on the Eastern Shore, is the one of the nation’s largest poultry producers. FARM RESOURCES 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. WINERIES, BREWERIES & DISTILLERIES During Prohibition from 1920 to 1933, Maryland saw the 18th Amendment as a violation of states’ rights and 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. More recently, however, Maryland has seen a rapid increase in the number of its wineries, breweries, and distilleries, Boordy Vineyards, Long Green Pike, Baltimore County, Maryland, August 2014.

Photo by Sarah A. Hanks. In July 2022, the Advisory Commission on Maryland Alcohol Manufacturing was formed within the Department of Commerce to nurture the industry. Currently, 168 businesses produce produce craft beverages with a total gross output of $591 million.

  1. Wineries. Each Maryland county has at least one vineyard and most have a winery as well.
  2. As of 2022, 115 wineries operate throughout the State.
  3. In Fiscal Year 2022, Maryland wines received more than 260 medals and awards at local, regional, national, and international competitions.
  4. Wine trails across the State offer regional wines with distinctive flavors.

In 2018, wineries employed 2,000 workers and had a $200 million economic impact on the State while wine sales neared $50 million. In 2019, wineries sold 210,000 cases, or 461,000 gallons, of wine. As of 2022, Maryland commercial growers harvest more than 1,000 acres of grapes, apples, and other fruits for wine, cider, and mead.

Together, some 115 wineries throughout the State produce over 500 wines. Formerly, the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Maryland Wine and Grape Growing had sought to support Maryland’s wineries and vineyards. In July 2022, the Commission was replaced by the Advisory Commission on Maryland Alcohol Manufacturing within the Department of Commerce ( Chapter 462, Acts of 2022 ).

Breweries. In 2021, some 125 licensed breweries operated throughout Maryland. Also as of 2021, the breweries produced 288,130 barrels of craft beer per year with an economic impact of $956 million. In August 2018, Guinness opened a brewery and taproom in Halethorpe (Baltimore County), its only brewery in the United States.

What are the major crops in Maryland?

Economy of Maryland including Maryland Agriculture and Manufacturing from NETSTATE.COM Livestock products comprise the bulk of Maryland’s farm income. In terms of revenue generated, Maryland’s top five agricultural products are broilers (young chickens), greenhouse and nursery products, dairy products, corn for grain, and soybeans.

  • Most of Maryland’s crop income is from greenhouse and nursery products (flowers, ornamental shrubs, young fruit trees).
  • Corn for grain and soybeans are also important sources of revenue in the state.
  • Other important crops include wheat, hay, barley and tobacco.
  • The most important vegetables are sweet corn and tomatoes.
  • Apples are the biggest fruit crop.

What agriculture is Maryland known for?

Maryland Ag Facts Capital : Annapolis Population: 5,296,000 Founded: April 28, 1788 (7th) State Bird: Baltimore Oriole State Tree: White Oak State Flower: Back Eyed Susan Number of Counties : 23 Largest City: Baltimore – 651,000 Nickname: Little America Number of Farms : 12,850 Average Farm Size: 160 acres Total Farmland: 2 million acres Climate & Soil •The mean annual air temperature is 45oF-48oF, mean annual precipitation 35″-50″ and frost free period 160-250 days.

  • Sassafras series consisting of very deep, fine-loamy, siliceous, semiactive, well drained, moderately permeable soils formed in sandy marine and old alluvial sediments of the Coastal Plain.
  • These soils are categorized as prime farmland and best suited to construction, onside effluentdisposal, and recreational development.

Crops & Livestock •40% of Maryland’s land is in agriculture – over 2 million acres. •Extensive research and work is done by farmers to implement best management practices thatprotect our land while providing the food and fiber products necessary for our existence.

•Known as “America in Miniature”, Maryland agriculture is as diverse as that of the nation. •As the state has grown in population, traditional dairy, grain and livestock production, while still active, have given way to products more directly related to consumers. •Poultry, nursery and turf production, seafood, dairy, corn, soybeans, racing and pleasure horse industries now dominate Maryland agriculture.

General •Maryland agriculture is the state’s largest commercial industry. •The Maryland agricultural industry contributes more than $17 billion in revenue annually. •Agriculture employs 350,000 Marylanders. •14% of the state’s workforce are involved in Maryland’s food and fiber sector: 50% wholesaling & retailing 20% farm production 15% marketing & processing 12% agribusiness 3% farm supply See Also

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What is Maryland’s biggest agricultural export?

Maryland Maryland Trade Facts

In 2018, Maryland exported $12.1 billion of Made-in-America goods to the world. In 2016, exports from Maryland supported an estimated 45 thousand jobs.

Exports from Maryland and Jobs

Maryland was the 29 th largest state exporter of goods in 2018. In 2018, Maryland goods exports were $12.1 billion, an increase of 6 percent ($719 million) from its export level in 2008. Goods exports accounted for 2.9 percent of Maryland GDP in 2018. Maryland goods exports in 2016 (latest year available) supported an estimated 45 thousand jobs. Nationally, jobs supported by goods exports pay up to an estimated 18 percent above the national average.

Made-in-America Manufacturing Exports from Maryland and Jobs

In 2018, Maryland exported $9.7 billion of manufactured products. Maryland exports of manufactured products supported an estimated 41 thousand jobs in 2016. The state’s largest manufacturing export category is transportation equipment, which accounted for $2.4 billion of Maryland’s total goods exports in 2018. Other top manufacturing exports are chemicals ($2.0 billion), machinery, except electrical ($1.1 billion), computer & electronic products ($1.0 billion), and other fabricated metal products ($699 million).

Exports Sustain Thousands of Maryland Businesses many of which are SMEs

A total of 6,235 companies exported from Maryland locations in 2016 (latest year available). Of those, 5,380 (86 percent) were small and medium sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees. Small and medium-sized firms generated 31.3 percent of Maryland’s total exports of goods in 2016.

Maryland Depends on World Markets

The state’s largest market was Canada. Maryland exported $1.7 billion in goods to Canada in 2018, representing 14 percent of the state’s total goods exports. Canada was followed by Japan ($1.1 billion), France ($1.1 billion), Saudi Arabia ($606 million), and the Netherlands ($596 million). Maryland’s exports (2018 value) to major world areas included:

2018 Value
APEC $5.1 billion
Asia $4.2 billion
European Union $3.8 billion
South/Central America and Caribbean $872 million
Sub-Saharan Africa $309 million

ul> 29 percent of Maryland’s exports ($3.5 billion) go to current FTA partners.

Agriculture in Maryland depends on Exports

Maryland is the country’s 36 th largest agricultural exporting state, shipping $654 million in domestic agricultural exports abroad in 2017 (latest data available according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture).1 Top Agricultural exports (2017 value) were:

2017 Value 2017 State Rank
other plant products $175 million 26
soybeans $112 million 21
broiler meat $104 million 9
corn $43 million 23
wheat $43 million 23

International Investment Creates Jobs in Maryland

In 2015 (latest data available), foreign-controlled companies employed 118,300 Maryland workers. Major sources of foreign investment in Maryland included the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Canada. Foreign investment in Maryland was responsible for 5.4 percent of the state’s total private-industry employment in 2015.

Maryland’s Major Metropolitan Areas Benefit from Exporting

In 2017 (latest data available), the following metropolitan areas in Maryland recorded goods exports: Philadelphia ($21.7 billion), Washington ($12.7 billion), Baltimore ($4.7 billion), Salisbury ($466.9 million), Hagerstown ($120.1 million), California-Lexington Park ($63.6 million), Cumberland ($40.2 million).

1 Estimates of state exports of agricultural products by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and goods exports by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce are based on different methodologies and are not directly comparable. : Maryland

What is the biggest farm in Maryland?

Lippy Brothers of Hampstead oversees almost 10,000 acres of farmland, most of it in Carroll County. One of the largest agricultural operations in Maryland, it is pioneering new methods to help create a more efficient and effective agricultural business.

Is Maryland good for farming?

Posted by Dale Hawks, Maryland State Statistician, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service in Research and Science Jul 29, 2021 Did you know that watermelon can be considered a fruit or vegetable? Related to the cucumber and squash, it is grown using vegetable production systems. Vegetables total 29,339 acres in Maryland with sweet corn leading the way followed by watermelon at over 3,700 acres.

  1. The 2017 Census of Agriculture results are out, and Maryland shows its diversity, with poultry, an array of crops, vegetables, and floriculture ranking high for a small state.
  2. Maryland is small, but it reaches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Appalachian Mountains, providing a suitable environment for a variety of agricultural commodities.

More than 70 percent of land in farms is cropland with 439,538 acres of corn for grain; 512,697 acres of soybeans for beans; and 164,831 acres of wheat for grain. Vegetables total 29,339 acres in the state with sweet corn leading the way with over 8,000 acres, followed by watermelon at over 3,700 acres and snap beans at over 3,100 acres.

Fruit acreage comes in at nearly 4,200 acres with apples leading the way with nearly 1,800 acres. Grape acreage has increased to nearly 1,200 in 2017 from nearly 700 acres in 2012. Maryland has almost every fruit and vegetable in the Census. The sandy environment near the shoreline is conducive growing condition for watermelons and a lot of the vegetable crops while the higher altitudes provide opportunities for producing apples and grapes.

Also, Maryland has proven to be a great area to grow nursery, greenhouse, floriculture, and sod, which make up over 9 percent of the total value of agriculture products sold. Poultry and eggs ranked #1 in Maryland with nearly 48 percent of the total sales in this category. While Maryland has horses and ponies, cattle and calves, and hogs and pigs, poultry dominates the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The poultry and eggs category tops the total market value in the state and ranks seventh in the nation for the number of broilers sold at 307.7 million.

Nearly 48 percent of the market value of Maryland agriculture products sold comes from poultry and eggs. Maryland, like the nation as a whole, exhibits a diversity of agricultural practices to complement the variety of products. For example, we have 117 farms that in 2017 produced over $30 million in organic products, up about $18.6 million since 2012.

We also have 1,193 farms with renewable energy producing systems. The top three systems are solar panels, geo-exchange systems, and wind turbines. For the first time, the census counted 1,962 or almost 16 percent of farms with producers having military service.

  1. And being so close to large population areas is a benefit for direct marketing and agricultural tourism.
  2. Maryland has 1,347 farms that sold directly to consumers, which is up from 2012 farms of 1,276.
  3. Nearly 300 farms in Maryland have agricultural tourism and recreational services, which accounts for 9 percent of income from farm-related sources in 2017.

So, go out and visit one of the many farms and farm stands open to the public and enjoy some of the family activities to learn where food is grown in the neighborhood. In Maryland, increases in the number of farms for size of farm in the 1 to 9 acres and 2,000 or more categories, while the others stayed the same or declined.

What is Maryland’s number one crop?

AGRICULTURE – Aquaculture 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.

Farm Revenue Farmers’ Markets Hemp Honey Horse Industry Horticulture & Nurseries Poultry Wineries, Breweries & Distilleries

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

Sassafras, Maryland’s state soil, is one of the first and oldest soil series in the nation, having been established in 1901, and is designated as a Benchmark and Hall of Fame series. It is found across much of the State, nearly 500,000 acres, and is categorized as prime farmland soil due to its productive value. 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.
  • According to the Service, Maryland’s top commodities in 2020 ranked by sale were poultry; grain; milk; cattle and calves; eggs; hogs; oilseeds, dry beans, dry peas; nursery, greenhouse, floriculture, sod; and vegetables, melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
  • Cow Judging, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland, August 2014.

Photo by Sarah A. Hanks. 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, Agriculture is the largest commercial industry in Maryland, employing some 350,000 people, including nearly 6,000 full-time farmers, and contributing some $8.25 billion annually to the economy. Agriculture also remains the largest single land use in the State, with 2 million acres, or roughly 32 percent of total land area used for farming in 2021.

While the majority of Maryland’s farmland lies in the north central part of the State and the upper Eastern Shore, more than 20 urban farms thrive in Baltimore City. In 2021, some 12,400 Maryland farms averaged 161 acres each. According to the 2017 Census, 96% farms are family owned. Barn & brick silo, Sabillasville (Frederick County), Maryland, July 2007.

Photo by Diane F. Evartt. In Fiscal Year 2021, some 105 farms were certified organic in Maryland. In 2019, these farms were located on 17,196 acres and sold $50.1 million in products, including dairy items, fruits and vegetables, grains, livestock, and poultry.

  1. Near the Chesapeake Bay and near Maryland farm lands, sea levels are rising at double the world’s average rate.
  2. Along with climate change, farms on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore increasingly are affected by saltwater intrusion, or the movement of saltwater towards land that occurs when too much freshwater is removed from aquifers, and the settling of the land itself.

Saltwater, whether through aquifer intrusion or tides, has increasingly encroached into farm fields, leaving the soil’s salt content too high to grow crops and causing more farmland acres to be left unplanted. The General Assembly ordered the Department of Planning, along with the Departments of Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources, to devise a plan to adapt to saltwater intrusion and update it every five years ( Chapter 628, Acts of 2018 ). 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 2021, the Foundation had preserved some 337,182 acres.
  • By 2030, 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 November 9, 2021, some 853,527 acres toward that total, or nearly 83%, have been preserved.

Also in 2021, to help with agricultural land preservation, the General Assembly authorized two more programs, the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) and the Next Generation Farmland Acquisition Program ( Chapter 285, Acts of 2021 ). Silos, Easton, Maryland, May 2017. In 2020, gross cash income from commodity (crop & animal) receipts and other farm-related work was approximately $2.53 billion, while net cash income was about $463 million, or $37,369 per farm. Total production expenses were approximately $2.26 billion, or $182,325 per farm, while net farm income exceeded $392.4 million, $31,650 per farm.

In 2020, the cash receipts of all agricultural products totaled approximately $2.1 billion. Along with raising crops and animals, Maryland farmers earn income from agricultural tourism, or agritourism, According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, some 295 farms supplemented their income through agritourism, including farmers markets or farm stands, farm visits, and county fairs.

Throughout Maryland, agritourism events generate over $162 million for the economy and help support more than 1,000 jobs. Dairy cows, Long Green Road, Glen Arm, Maryland, August 2017. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks. In 2020, direct payments from federal farm programs were approximately $173.5 million, up significantly from $109.7 million in 2019.

  1. Price Loss Coverage saw the largest increase, rising from $1.9 million in 2019 to $7.8 million in 2020.
  2. Other programs that benefited from the payments include Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), Conservation, Market Facilitation, Dairy Margin Coverage, Supplemental and ad hoc disaster assistance, and other miscellaneous programs.

The Department of Agriculture’s Maryland’s Best Program promotes products grown in the State, including fruits, vegetables, meats, and wine. Owing to the increased sales, each $1 spent on marketing the products has a return of $15 for the farmers and State. CROPS In 2021, field crops were harvested from 1.53 million acres, about 70% of all Maryland farmland. Their 2020 cash receipts were valued at over $1.01 billion. Barley. Barley production increased to 1.35 million bushels in 2021, averaging 75 bushels per acre with 18,000 acres harvested for a production value of nearly $5 million.

  • Corn. In 2021, 74.4 million bushels of corn for grain were harvested from 425,000 acres, an average of 175 bushels per acre, for a value of $442.5 million.
  • In 2021, some 700,000 tons of silage corn were harvested from 35,000 acres.
  • Waverly Farmers’ Market, 32nd St., Baltimore, Maryland, August 2009.
  • Photo by Diane F.

Evartt. Hay. In 2021, from 34,000 acres, Maryland farmers harvested 112,000 tons of alfalfa hay worth $23.6 million. In 2021, overall hay production included 426,000 tons harvested from 199,000 acres (2.14 ton per acre) with a value of $67 million. Mushrooms. Wheat. In 2021, from 160,000 acres of winter wheat, 12.6 million bushels (79 bushels per acre) were harvested worth $82.2 million. Selected fresh market vegetables and melons were harvested from 29,339 acres and were valued at $71.3 million, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture,

  • These include sweet corn (over 8,000 acres), watermelon (over 3,700 acres) and snap beans (over 3,100 acres), and cucumbers.
  • In 2018, potatoes were harvested from 2,200 acres and amounted to 510,000 hundredweight with cash receipts of $10.4 million.
  • Pumpkin vines with flowers, Baltimore, Maryland, September 2016.

Photo by Sarah A. Hanks. Fruits, Tree Nuts, & Berries. According to the 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. 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 Cover Crop Program offers grants.

Between 2020-2021, some 433,116 acres of traditional cover crops were planted in Maryland using nearly $20 million in grant funding. Another program, the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program, provided $3.9 million in grants to help farmers install 257 conservation projects. Thresher, south of Hughesville, Maryland, November 2017.

Harvesting Corn in Maryland | MD F&H

Photo by Diane F. Evartt. DAIRY & LIVESTOCK Maryland milk production in 2021 totaled 875 million pounds and the average milk production per cow was 20,833 pounds. In 2021, the average number of dairy farms was 325 while the number of milk cows was 42,000. Cash receipts for dairy products and milk in 2021 was $158.4 million.

Cattle. As of January 1, 2022, the total number of cattle in Maryland was 165,000. In 2019, production value for cattle and calves was over $76.4 million. Also as of January 1, 2022, there were 42,000 beef cows in Maryland. Cash receipts for cattle and calves in 2020 was $64 million. Cow, Kinder Farm Park, Millersville, Maryland, January 2019.

Photo by Diane F. Evartt. 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 ten dairy farms that runs more than 290 miles across the State.

The dairies include Brooms Bloom Dairy (Harford County), Chesapeake Bay Farms (Worcester County), Deliteful Dairy (Washington County), Keyes Creamery (Harford County), Kilby Cream (Cecil County), Misty Meadow Farm Creamery (Washington County), Prigel Family Creamery (Baltimore County), Rocky Point Creamery (Frederick County), South Mountain Creamery (Frederick County), and Woodbourne Creamery at Rock Hill Orchard (Montgomery County).

Alpacas & Llamas. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, there were 1,660 alpacas and 168 llamas on 146 and 43 farms, respectively. Bison. In 2017, there were 43 bison on 5 farms in Maryland. Silos on Kilby Cream Farm, 129 Strohmaier Lane, Rising Sun, Maryland, July 2015. Goats & Sheep. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, approximately 3,848 milk goats, 9,263 goats for meat and other purposes, and 23,399 sheep and lambs were in Maryland. In 2020, wool brought in $132,000 in cash receipts. Goat mountain (left), September 2015, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland. Hogs. As of December 1, 2021, the total number of hogs in Maryland was 22,000. In 2020, cash receipts from hogs and pigs totaled $6.34 million. In 2019, there were 37,000 pigs in Maryland. HEMP The Maryland Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program was launched in 2019 to encourage research of industrial hemp and its growth, harvest, production, and sale for agricultural objectives.

Under the Program, farmers must partner with the Department of Agriculture or a university to grow the hemp for research purposes only. In 2021, some 36 farmers partnered with six universities on hemp research. Started in 2021, the Maryland Hemp Farming Program is for those interested in growing hemp commercially.

In its first year, 63 farmers registered under the Program. Hogs, August 2014, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s first National Hemp Report, 26 acres of industrial hemp grown in the open were harvested in 2021. HONEY In 2021, some 18,592 honeybee colonies in Maryland are maintained by 2,335 beekeepers at 2,932 apiaries. These colonies produce upwards of 100,000 pounds of honey per year. In 2020, honey was brought in $667,000 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. In 2020, some 3,190 entry permits and 2,000 exit permits were issued for honeybee colonies. Honeybees in a honeycomb, Crownsville, Maryland, September 2014. Photo by Sarah A.

Hanks. According to the Bee Informed Partnership, between 2020 and 2021, beekeepers surveyed in Maryland lost an average of 38.78% of their colonies. These colonies are vital to Maryland’s agriculture since nearly all of the State’s wild bees have died.

The Department of Agriculture ‘s Apiary Inspection 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.

Along with honeybees, which are actually native to Europe, Africa, and Asia, there are over 430 species of native bees in Maryland, including mason bees and bumblebees. Some of those native species, such as the Rusty Patched Bumblebee, are endangered, 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.

  1. In Fiscal Year 2021, over 16,000 equine facilities and 782 licensed stables (including those for boarding, lessons, rental, & rescue) operated in Maryland.
  2. 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,
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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, HORTICULTURE & NURSERIES In 2017, horticulture, which includes nurseries and greenhouses, made up 9% of all agricultural items that were sold and was the third largest agricultural sector in sales. According to the 2018 Maryland Horticulture Survey, some 27,054 acres of farmland were used for horticultural production, and growers sold approximately $1.4 billion in products.

Moreover, nearly 25,000 people were employed in the horticultural industry. In 2020, the Maryland Nursery Inspection Program licensed 297 nurseries and 1,456 plant sellers, and certified over 10,537 stock acres and 12,070,024 square feet of greenhouse space. Bumblebees & honeybee on sunflower, Baltimore, Maryland, July 2014.

Photo by Sarah A. Hanks. The Maryland Gingseng Management Program works to protect American ginseng from overharvesting and to ensure its viability. Ginseng can be wild, wild-simulated, woods-grown, or cultivated. The Program monitors the ginseng harvest as well as licenses its diggers and dealers. POULTRY In 2021, the number of broilers, or chickens raised for their meat, was 259.9 million with a value of $912.5 million. Poultry production value in 2020 was $738.4 million. Also in 2020, turkeys brought in some $16.2 million. Perdue Farms, on the Eastern Shore, is the one of the nation’s largest poultry producers. FARM RESOURCES 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. WINERIES, BREWERIES & DISTILLERIES During Prohibition from 1920 to 1933, Maryland saw the 18th Amendment as a violation of states’ rights and 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. More recently, however, Maryland has seen a rapid increase in the number of its wineries, breweries, and distilleries, Boordy Vineyards, Long Green Pike, Baltimore County, Maryland, August 2014.

Photo by Sarah A. Hanks. In July 2022, the Advisory Commission on Maryland Alcohol Manufacturing was formed within the Department of Commerce to nurture the industry. Currently, 168 businesses produce produce craft beverages with a total gross output of $591 million.

  • Wineries. Each Maryland county has at least one vineyard and most have a winery as well.
  • As of 2022, 115 wineries operate throughout the State.
  • In Fiscal Year 2022, Maryland wines received more than 260 medals and awards at local, regional, national, and international competitions.
  • Wine trails across the State offer regional wines with distinctive flavors.

In 2018, wineries employed 2,000 workers and had a $200 million economic impact on the State while wine sales neared $50 million. In 2019, wineries sold 210,000 cases, or 461,000 gallons, of wine. As of 2022, Maryland commercial growers harvest more than 1,000 acres of grapes, apples, and other fruits for wine, cider, and mead.

  1. Together, some 115 wineries throughout the State produce over 500 wines.
  2. Formerly, the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Maryland Wine and Grape Growing had sought to support Maryland’s wineries and vineyards.
  3. In July 2022, the Commission was replaced by the Advisory Commission on Maryland Alcohol Manufacturing within the Department of Commerce ( Chapter 462, Acts of 2022 ).

Breweries. In 2021, some 125 licensed breweries operated throughout Maryland. Also as of 2021, the breweries produced 288,130 barrels of craft beer per year with an economic impact of $956 million. In August 2018, Guinness opened a brewery and taproom in Halethorpe (Baltimore County), its only brewery in the United States.

Why is Maryland so special?

Thoroughbred Horses – Maryland is home to many thoroughbred horse farms, and the state is known for being a leading producer of these horses. The Maryland Jockey Club is the oldest continuously operating sports club in America, and it hosts the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course every year.

How does Maryland make money?

What is the General Fund? – The general fund consists of any revenues collected by the State that are not dedicated by law to a specific purpose. The individual income tax, retail sales tax, and State Lottery are the three largest sources of general fund revenue.

What is best crops to grow in Maryland?

Small Fruits – The Maryland Cooperative Extension reports that growing conditions in the Free State are well suited to strawberries, grapes, currants, blackberries, grapes, blueberries and raspberries. Small fruit plants tend to live a long time. Purchase virus-free stock; Crusader and Consort are resistant blackberry cultivars, for example.

Vine crops such as melons, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins and gourds often produce heavily in Maryland’s humid summers. The Maryland Cooperative Extension reports that growing conditions in the Free State are well suited to strawberries, grapes, currants, blackberries, grapes, blueberries and raspberries.

What industry is Maryland known for?

Maryland ‘s leading industries by employment are health care and social assistance, state and local government, retail trade, and professional and technical services. Maryland’s Gross State Product (GSP) was $295.4 billion in 2010. The Government sector produced $52.1 billion and accounted for 18 percent of Maryland’s GSP in 2009.

  • Federal government, including military and civilian, accounted for slightly more than half at just over $27 billion, while state and local government combined for nearly $25 billion.
  • The Fort George G.
  • Meade military installation, which includes employees of the National Security Agency, is the state’s biggest employer at 44,540.

The largest private sector industry is real estate with $48.4 billion, or 17 percent of economic activity. Large private employers in Maryland include Black & Decker, Legg Mason, Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, ZeniMax Media, McCormick & Company, Perdue Farms, General Motors, IBM, Northrop Grumman, and Verizon,

  • The state has more than 50 federal agencies and research facilities, including the National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, National Security Agency, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology,
  • Maryland also has several universities, including the University System of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University, which receives more research dollars than any university in the country.

Maryland ranked second in the Milken Institute’s State Technology and Science Index, which ranks states on their ability to foster and sustain a technology sector. In the report, Maryland was noted for its human capital investment, research and development inputs, technology, and science workforce, and technology concentration and dynamism. McCormick & Co. headquarters in Sparks Organizations in Maryland received $525 million in research and development (R&D) awards from the National Institutes of Health and $11.6 billion in total R&D federal obligations, ranking first among states on a per capita basis.

Does Maryland have fertile soil?

Maryland’s Eastern Shore Remains Ripe for Farming With fertile soil and a good climate, Maryland’s Eastern Shore has a robust agricultural industry. By Sue Siens on May 5, 2015 It’s only natural that Maryland’s Eastern Shore still has a strong agricultural base. After all, its ag heritage dates back over 300 years. With rich soil, a mild climate and convenient access to major Mid-Atlantic markets, the Eastern Shore’s flat land and green pastures make it ideal for raising all types of livestock, poultry production and growing a variety of crops.

Top commodities produced on the Eastern Shore include corn, wheat, soybeans, fruits and herbs, along with beef and dairy. Nurseries are also prominent throughout the five-county area. About 35 percent of Cecil County’s 222,000 acres are devoted to farmland, mostly for cash grains and dairy, while Talbot County has 109,002 acres and 280 operating farms.

Agriculture is also an economic engine in Dorchester County, with 133,000 total acres and 424 farms, and Caroline County, with 150,357 acres of dedicated farmland and 658 farms. One of the top producing agricultural counties in all of in Maryland is Kent County.

  1. We are proud of our 147,000-plus acres of agriculture land,” says Jamie Williams, deputy clerk for the Kent County Commissioners.
  2. Our county has the highest percentage of Class A ag soils in Maryland, and we are the second-highest producer of ag crops.” The Eastern Shore is also a hotbed for grape-production in the state.

As a result, the wine industry continues to enjoy more success each year, with operations like Crow Vineyard & Winery, Chateau Bu De Vineyard, Turkey Point Vineyard, Terrapin Station Winery, Dove Valley Winery, and Elk Manor Winery. Cornucopia of Companies Poultry processor is the No.1 employer in Dorchester County, with 800 workers.

The plant produces fresh and frozen chicken products for foodservice, retail and industrial markets. In Cecil County, Warwick Mushroom Farms – a subsidiary of family-owned Phillips Mushroom Farms – grows up to half a million pounds of white button mushrooms per week at its state-of-the-art plant. The county is also home to Moon Nurseries, which produces more than 40,000 trees and 350,000 container plants per year in Chesapeake City.

Seafood processing is also big in the region, with the presence of companies like Sea Watch International, which harvests and processes shellfish in Talbot County, and Kool Ice & Seafood and Hoopers Island Oyster Aquaculture in Dorchester County. “We’re developing a company that will provide the infrastructure to support a new approach of producing oysters on the Chesapeake,” says Johnny Shockley, who co-owns Hoopers Island Oyster Aquaculture Company with business partner Ricky Fitzhug.

Dorchester County is also home to Purdue Farms, which operates a hatchery in Hurlock, and The Mushroom Company, a mushroom processor in Cambridge. Food processing flourishes on the Eastern Shore. Bloch & Guggenheimer and Protenergy Natural Foods operate facilities in Dorchester County. In Caroline County, Hanover Foods operates a vegetable processing plant, and Kraft Foods makes bread crumbs in Federalsburg for its Stove Top Stuffing brand.

From Ice Cream to Alpacas Small family-owned farms also find success in the region. Case in point is 201-acre Miller and Tanner Dairy Farm in Federalsburg, home to which produces milk, skim milk, yogurt and butter sold at farmers markets, select grocery outlets, high-end restaurants, coffee houses and cafes in the area.

“There are many advantages to living here, including nutritional advantages to raising pasture-fed cows versus the large dairy factories elsewhere,” says owner Bob Miller. All of the creamery’s products are produced by the farm’s 50 milk cows, and because the cows and processing facility are in the same place, Miller can sell fresher items.

“Our products generally make one trip from the farm and creamery to the customer,” Miller says. “Our creamery has grown from producing 8,000 gallons of milk a year to more than 40,000 gallons.” Also in Caroline County is, one of the largest field-cut flower producers in the Mid-Atlantic region.

  1. The farm is owned and operated by Drs.
  2. Richard and Wenfei Uva, who moved to the Eastern Shore in 2006 after studying and teaching horticulture-related subjects at Cornell University.
  3. We had a great deal of academic knowledge about horticulture and wanted to put it into practice,” Wenfei Uva says.
  4. Our location in the Eastern Shore is easily accessible to major markets to sell our products.” In Preston, breeds alpacas and sells alpaca fabric, yarn, and fiber.

Owner Phil Liske, who bought the farm in 2007, raises nearly 40 alpacas on 15 acres of pasture and carries products made from the luxurious alpaca fiber in his farm store. “The Mid-Atlantic region has moderate weather and good grazing land,” Liske says.

Is the soil in Maryland good for farming?

– ​Maryland’s Healthy Soils Program Healthy, productive soil has always been a farmer’s greatest asset. Recognizing the importance of soil health, Governor Larry Hogan signed legislation in 2017 establishing Maryland’s Healthy Soils Program. The legislation establishes the Maryland ​Department of Agriculture as the state lead on healthy soils. It charges the department to develop a program to:

  • Improve health, yield, and profitability of soils
  • Increase biological activity and carbon sequestration in agricultural soils
  • Promote further education and adoption of healthy soil practices
  • Read House Bill 1063 here ​.​

Promoting Soil Health Maryland’s Healthy Soils Program supports farmers who want to explore new technologies and farming techniques that promote soil health and its corresponding environmental benefits. To accomplish these goals, the Department has launched several exciting initiatives: Soil Health Matters Soil scientists have long known that ​​building soil organic matter helps all soils—even worn out degraded soils—store nutrients, soak up water, resist erosion and increase the number and biodiversity of beneficial organisms that make the soil more productive.

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) defines soil health as “the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans.” This definition highlights the importance of managing soils as a living resource so that they are sustainable for future generations.​ How Do I Know if my Soil is Healthy? NRCS has developed a Soil Health Card that farmers and land managers can use to evaluate the health of their soil.

When used over time, this tool can identify changes in soil health that are affected by the way the land is managed. The card lists soil health indicators that can be assessed without technical or laboratory equipment. Get the Maryland Soil Health Card here,

  1. Keep the soil covered. Include cover crops in your rotation to protect against erosion, improve biodiversity, add organic matter to the soil, and reduce compaction.
  2. Disturb the soil as little as possible. Use no-till or reduced tillage farming practices instead of plowing to reduce erosion, increase residue cover, and build organic matter.
  3. Rotate crops to increase biodiversity, Crop rotation helps return nutrients to the soil, interrupts pest and disease cycles, while increasing fertility and crop yields.
  4. Keep a living root throughout the year, Include a cover crop in your rotation or establish perennial grasses to provide food for organisms that live in the soil.

Maryland Farmers Are Leaders Maryland is a small state in terms of land area, but our farmers are big on using conservation practices that build healthy soils and protect water quality. In its most recent soil health ​census​ report, the National Soil Institute rated Maryland farmers:

  • #1 in the percent of available cropland pl​anted to cover crops
  • #2 in the use of no-till practices​

Soil Health Champions Soil Health Champions ​play an important role in educating other farmers on the importance of using practices that build healthy soils. Established by the National Association of Soil Conservation Districts (NACD), the Network is comprised of more ​ than 240 landowners and operators across the country who use conservation practices on their land and champion the benefits of soil health within their communities.

What was the cash crop in Maryland?

Tobacco Landscape By Carl Fleischhauer and Art Cochran Tobacco growing on an ACLT field on Scientists Cliffs Road, 1998. Tobacco Country, Tobacco became the principal and characteristic crop of the Chesapeake region shortly after the establishment of the English colony of Maryland in 1634 and it was the dominant cash crop in Calvert County for more than 350 years.

  • Tobacco defined agriculture in Southern Maryland throughout this time period and, in turn, defined the cultural landscape of Calvert County.
  • Demographics.
  • Tobacco is a labor-intensive crop, a fact reflected in Calvert County’s demographics.
  • For more than a century, the African Americans who provided much of the tobacco workforce outnumbered the county’s white population.

In 1790, the county was home to 4,211 whites and 4,441 blacks (about 51 percent), 136 of whom were free. By 1850, there were 3,630 whites and 6,016 blacks (about 60 percent), 1,530 of whom were free. By 1890, the percentage of African Americans had again dropped to 51 percent, representing about 5,000 of the county’s 9,860 residents.

About one century later, the 2000 census reported a county population of about 74,000 persons, of whom about 63,000 were white and 9,800 were African American. Settlements. Most 18th and 19th century communities were defined at their core by a church, school, business, or a few closely-spaced houses. They did not have formal boundaries and shaded off into adjacent rural or farm neighborhoods.

The dispersal of residents in earlier days reflects Calvert’s agricultural character and the historical importance of water transportation. Steamboat Landings. See locations on the accompanying map. Steamboat Landings. Travel and commerce by water shaped the Chesapeake’s cultural landscape, nowhere more than in narrow, peninsular Calvert County, with its many easily accessible steamboat wharves.

During the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th, hogsheads (large, wooden casks) of tobacco were taken to market in Baltimore by steamboat. Most farms had a tobacco prize—a large press used to compress the tobacco for shipment—and the filled hogsheads were rolled or carried by wagon to the steamboat landing.

The farmers south of Parkers Creek met the steamboat at Governors Run, and many traveled to the Bay and the wharf along the road that is now the lane into Eastview Farm, past its barns, and southeast down the slope, where the old road can still be clearly seen.

  1. North of Parkers Creek, the nearby steamboat wharf was Dare’s, in the community now known as Dare’s Beach.) Cleared land.
  2. During the period when tobacco farming prevailed, most of the land outside of deep ravines consisted of cleared fields.
  3. An 1847 map suggests that, by the middle of the 19th century, most level sections in the ACLT’s south-of-the-creek holdings had been cleared for tobacco.

Robert “Bobby” Weems of Port Republic has recalled Emory Howard’s farm in 1936 as “the prettiest place on the Bay.” From Howard’s house, a few hundred yards east of today’s ACLT parking lot on Scientists Cliffs Road, one could “look halfway to Parkers Creek, to Kenwood Beach,” Weems said, “and wasn’t nary a wood, a tree” except in the ravines. Spartina grass (cordgrass) in the Parkers Creek marsh, 1995. Parkers Creek. The creek was too shallow to serve the needs of water transportation and its lands too moist or steep to serve agriculture, although the Spartina grasses (cordgrass) that flourish in the tidal flats near the Bay may have provided fodder for livestock. Parkers Creek bridge photographed by Annie Karrer. The family album in which this picture was found was labeled 1937-1945. From the Scientists’ Cliffs Association Archives. Road crossing Parkers Creek abandoned. The creek was a place you had to cross as you traveled by road from Port Republic to Dare’s Wharf or Prince Frederick.

The public road and bridge lasted until the late 1930s, by which time the increased availability of automobiles and the existence of better albeit less direct roads meant that people could reach the county seat by going west and then north, via the county’s main road, today’s Maryland state highway 2-4.

The need for a short cut across the creek was no longer strongly felt. Making a living. Maryland’s farmers suffered hard times after the Civil War. Calvert’s plantation system was breaking up and farm tenancy replaced slavery as a source of farm labor. During World War I, the need to export farm products to Europe gave American farmers a lift.

And wartime difficulties in obtaining Arabic and Turkish tobacco gave all American tobacco growers a boost. But Maryland agriculturalists suffered like farmers throughout the United States when prices dropped after the war. The farm economy stayed down during the 1920s, in the face of national boom times, and dropped even further in the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Port Republic, MD in the 1930s. What did the residents of Port Republic in 1930 do for a living? Farmer and farm laborer are the most common occupations. But there were also two storekeepers and an automobile dealer. The importance of timbering to the local economy is indicated by the presence of seven sawmill laborers, all African American.

  • There was one waterman, who probably worked on one of the pound nets near the mouth of Parkers Creek, operations managed by men who brought workboats across the Bay from the Eastern Shore.
  • In addition, there were two schoolteachers, one machinist, one postmistress, one state road worker, and one garage laborer.
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Growth of Recreation and Non-Farm Jobs. The 1930s also saw an increase in the recreational use of Southern Maryland’s land and water. Dares Beach and Kenwood Beach are shown on maps as early as 1932, and the cottage community of Scientists Cliffs, the eastern neighbor of the ACLT’s south-of-the creek properties, was founded in 1937, two years after the developer George Flippo Gravatt, his wife Annie, and Gravatt’s sister began purchasing bayside farms between Parkers Creek and Governors Run.

The eastern strip of land was subdivided into lots for weekend and summer cabins overlooking the Bay, while the land west of the road continued to serve as a tobacco and tree farm. The purchase of this western land in 1987 marked the establishment of the American Chestnut Land Trust. During and after World War II, non-farm jobs began to increase, a trend that has intensified each decade since, and—along with suburban development—helps account for the diminished importance of farming in the county today.

Tobacco at the ACLT, 1987–2001. Woodrow Wallace and his family are ACLT neighbors on Scientists Cliffs Road. For many years, the family had grown tobacco on a portion of the land purchased by the trust in 1987, and the Wallaces continued to cultivate tobacco there until 2001. : Tobacco Landscape

What is Maryland’s number one crop?

AGRICULTURE – Aquaculture 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.

Farm Revenue Farmers’ Markets Hemp Honey Horse Industry Horticulture & Nurseries Poultry Wineries, Breweries & Distilleries

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

Sassafras, Maryland’s state soil, is one of the first and oldest soil series in the nation, having been established in 1901, and is designated as a Benchmark and Hall of Fame series. It is found across much of the State, nearly 500,000 acres, and is categorized as prime farmland soil due to its productive value. 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. According to the Service, Maryland’s top commodities in 2020 ranked by sale were poultry; grain; milk; cattle and calves; eggs; hogs; oilseeds, dry beans, dry peas; nursery, greenhouse, floriculture, sod; and vegetables, melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Cow Judging, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland, August 2014.

Photo by Sarah A. Hanks. 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, Agriculture is the largest commercial industry in Maryland, employing some 350,000 people, including nearly 6,000 full-time farmers, and contributing some $8.25 billion annually to the economy. Agriculture also remains the largest single land use in the State, with 2 million acres, or roughly 32 percent of total land area used for farming in 2021.

While the majority of Maryland’s farmland lies in the north central part of the State and the upper Eastern Shore, more than 20 urban farms thrive in Baltimore City. In 2021, some 12,400 Maryland farms averaged 161 acres each. According to the 2017 Census, 96% farms are family owned. Barn & brick silo, Sabillasville (Frederick County), Maryland, July 2007.

Photo by Diane F. Evartt. In Fiscal Year 2021, some 105 farms were certified organic in Maryland. In 2019, these farms were located on 17,196 acres and sold $50.1 million in products, including dairy items, fruits and vegetables, grains, livestock, and poultry.

Near the Chesapeake Bay and near Maryland farm lands, sea levels are rising at double the world’s average rate. Along with climate change, farms on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore increasingly are affected by saltwater intrusion, or the movement of saltwater towards land that occurs when too much freshwater is removed from aquifers, and the settling of the land itself.

Saltwater, whether through aquifer intrusion or tides, has increasingly encroached into farm fields, leaving the soil’s salt content too high to grow crops and causing more farmland acres to be left unplanted. The General Assembly ordered the Department of Planning, along with the Departments of Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources, to devise a plan to adapt to saltwater intrusion and update it every five years ( Chapter 628, Acts of 2018 ). 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 2021, the Foundation had preserved some 337,182 acres. By 2030, 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 November 9, 2021, some 853,527 acres toward that total, or nearly 83%, have been preserved.

Also in 2021, to help with agricultural land preservation, the General Assembly authorized two more programs, the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) and the Next Generation Farmland Acquisition Program ( Chapter 285, Acts of 2021 ). Silos, Easton, Maryland, May 2017. In 2020, gross cash income from commodity (crop & animal) receipts and other farm-related work was approximately $2.53 billion, while net cash income was about $463 million, or $37,369 per farm. Total production expenses were approximately $2.26 billion, or $182,325 per farm, while net farm income exceeded $392.4 million, $31,650 per farm.

  • In 2020, the cash receipts of all agricultural products totaled approximately $2.1 billion.
  • Along with raising crops and animals, Maryland farmers earn income from agricultural tourism, or agritourism,
  • According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, some 295 farms supplemented their income through agritourism, including farmers markets or farm stands, farm visits, and county fairs.

Throughout Maryland, agritourism events generate over $162 million for the economy and help support more than 1,000 jobs. Dairy cows, Long Green Road, Glen Arm, Maryland, August 2017. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks. In 2020, direct payments from federal farm programs were approximately $173.5 million, up significantly from $109.7 million in 2019.

  • Price Loss Coverage saw the largest increase, rising from $1.9 million in 2019 to $7.8 million in 2020.
  • Other programs that benefited from the payments include Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), Conservation, Market Facilitation, Dairy Margin Coverage, Supplemental and ad hoc disaster assistance, and other miscellaneous programs.

The Department of Agriculture’s Maryland’s Best Program promotes products grown in the State, including fruits, vegetables, meats, and wine. Owing to the increased sales, each $1 spent on marketing the products has a return of $15 for the farmers and State. CROPS In 2021, field crops were harvested from 1.53 million acres, about 70% of all Maryland farmland. Their 2020 cash receipts were valued at over $1.01 billion. Barley. Barley production increased to 1.35 million bushels in 2021, averaging 75 bushels per acre with 18,000 acres harvested for a production value of nearly $5 million.

  • Corn. In 2021, 74.4 million bushels of corn for grain were harvested from 425,000 acres, an average of 175 bushels per acre, for a value of $442.5 million.
  • In 2021, some 700,000 tons of silage corn were harvested from 35,000 acres.
  • Waverly Farmers’ Market, 32nd St., Baltimore, Maryland, August 2009.
  • Photo by Diane F.

Evartt. Hay. In 2021, from 34,000 acres, Maryland farmers harvested 112,000 tons of alfalfa hay worth $23.6 million. In 2021, overall hay production included 426,000 tons harvested from 199,000 acres (2.14 ton per acre) with a value of $67 million. Mushrooms. Wheat. In 2021, from 160,000 acres of winter wheat, 12.6 million bushels (79 bushels per acre) were harvested worth $82.2 million. Selected fresh market vegetables and melons were harvested from 29,339 acres and were valued at $71.3 million, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture,

  1. These include sweet corn (over 8,000 acres), watermelon (over 3,700 acres) and snap beans (over 3,100 acres), and cucumbers.
  2. In 2018, potatoes were harvested from 2,200 acres and amounted to 510,000 hundredweight with cash receipts of $10.4 million.
  3. Pumpkin vines with flowers, Baltimore, Maryland, September 2016.

Photo by Sarah A. Hanks. Fruits, Tree Nuts, & Berries. According to the 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. 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 Cover Crop Program offers grants.

  1. Between 2020-2021, some 433,116 acres of traditional cover crops were planted in Maryland using nearly $20 million in grant funding.
  2. Another program, the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program, provided $3.9 million in grants to help farmers install 257 conservation projects.
  3. Thresher, south of Hughesville, Maryland, November 2017.

Photo by Diane F. Evartt. DAIRY & LIVESTOCK Maryland milk production in 2021 totaled 875 million pounds and the average milk production per cow was 20,833 pounds. In 2021, the average number of dairy farms was 325 while the number of milk cows was 42,000. Cash receipts for dairy products and milk in 2021 was $158.4 million.

  • Cattle. As of January 1, 2022, the total number of cattle in Maryland was 165,000.
  • In 2019, production value for cattle and calves was over $76.4 million.
  • Also as of January 1, 2022, there were 42,000 beef cows in Maryland.
  • Cash receipts for cattle and calves in 2020 was $64 million.
  • Cow, Kinder Farm Park, Millersville, Maryland, January 2019.

Photo by Diane F. Evartt. 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 ten dairy farms that runs more than 290 miles across the State.

The dairies include Brooms Bloom Dairy (Harford County), Chesapeake Bay Farms (Worcester County), Deliteful Dairy (Washington County), Keyes Creamery (Harford County), Kilby Cream (Cecil County), Misty Meadow Farm Creamery (Washington County), Prigel Family Creamery (Baltimore County), Rocky Point Creamery (Frederick County), South Mountain Creamery (Frederick County), and Woodbourne Creamery at Rock Hill Orchard (Montgomery County).

Alpacas & Llamas. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, there were 1,660 alpacas and 168 llamas on 146 and 43 farms, respectively. Bison. In 2017, there were 43 bison on 5 farms in Maryland. Silos on Kilby Cream Farm, 129 Strohmaier Lane, Rising Sun, Maryland, July 2015. Goats & Sheep. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, approximately 3,848 milk goats, 9,263 goats for meat and other purposes, and 23,399 sheep and lambs were in Maryland. In 2020, wool brought in $132,000 in cash receipts. Goat mountain (left), September 2015, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland. Hogs. As of December 1, 2021, the total number of hogs in Maryland was 22,000. In 2020, cash receipts from hogs and pigs totaled $6.34 million. In 2019, there were 37,000 pigs in Maryland. HEMP The Maryland Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program was launched in 2019 to encourage research of industrial hemp and its growth, harvest, production, and sale for agricultural objectives.

Under the Program, farmers must partner with the Department of Agriculture or a university to grow the hemp for research purposes only. In 2021, some 36 farmers partnered with six universities on hemp research. Started in 2021, the Maryland Hemp Farming Program is for those interested in growing hemp commercially.

In its first year, 63 farmers registered under the Program. Hogs, August 2014, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s first National Hemp Report, 26 acres of industrial hemp grown in the open were harvested in 2021. HONEY In 2021, some 18,592 honeybee colonies in Maryland are maintained by 2,335 beekeepers at 2,932 apiaries. These colonies produce upwards of 100,000 pounds of honey per year. In 2020, honey was brought in $667,000 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.
  • In 2020, some 3,190 entry permits and 2,000 exit permits were issued for honeybee colonies.
  • Honeybees in a honeycomb, Crownsville, Maryland, September 2014.
  • Photo by Sarah A.

Hanks. According to the Bee Informed Partnership, between 2020 and 2021, beekeepers surveyed in Maryland lost an average of 38.78% of their colonies. These colonies are vital to Maryland’s agriculture since nearly all of the State’s wild bees have died.

  • The Department of Agriculture ‘s Apiary Inspection 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.

Along with honeybees, which are actually native to Europe, Africa, and Asia, there are over 430 species of native bees in Maryland, including mason bees and bumblebees. Some of those native species, such as the Rusty Patched Bumblebee, are endangered, 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.

  1. In Fiscal Year 2021, over 16,000 equine facilities and 782 licensed stables (including those for boarding, lessons, rental, & rescue) operated in Maryland.
  2. 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, HORTICULTURE & NURSERIES In 2017, horticulture, which includes nurseries and greenhouses, made up 9% of all agricultural items that were sold and was the third largest agricultural sector in sales. According to the 2018 Maryland Horticulture Survey, some 27,054 acres of farmland were used for horticultural production, and growers sold approximately $1.4 billion in products.

Moreover, nearly 25,000 people were employed in the horticultural industry. In 2020, the Maryland Nursery Inspection Program licensed 297 nurseries and 1,456 plant sellers, and certified over 10,537 stock acres and 12,070,024 square feet of greenhouse space. Bumblebees & honeybee on sunflower, Baltimore, Maryland, July 2014.

Photo by Sarah A. Hanks. The Maryland Gingseng Management Program works to protect American ginseng from overharvesting and to ensure its viability. Ginseng can be wild, wild-simulated, woods-grown, or cultivated. The Program monitors the ginseng harvest as well as licenses its diggers and dealers. POULTRY In 2021, the number of broilers, or chickens raised for their meat, was 259.9 million with a value of $912.5 million. Poultry production value in 2020 was $738.4 million. Also in 2020, turkeys brought in some $16.2 million. Perdue Farms, on the Eastern Shore, is the one of the nation’s largest poultry producers. FARM RESOURCES 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. WINERIES, BREWERIES & DISTILLERIES During Prohibition from 1920 to 1933, Maryland saw the 18th Amendment as a violation of states’ rights and 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. More recently, however, Maryland has seen a rapid increase in the number of its wineries, breweries, and distilleries, Boordy Vineyards, Long Green Pike, Baltimore County, Maryland, August 2014.

Photo by Sarah A. Hanks. In July 2022, the Advisory Commission on Maryland Alcohol Manufacturing was formed within the Department of Commerce to nurture the industry. Currently, 168 businesses produce produce craft beverages with a total gross output of $591 million.

  1. Wineries. Each Maryland county has at least one vineyard and most have a winery as well.
  2. As of 2022, 115 wineries operate throughout the State.
  3. In Fiscal Year 2022, Maryland wines received more than 260 medals and awards at local, regional, national, and international competitions.
  4. Wine trails across the State offer regional wines with distinctive flavors.

In 2018, wineries employed 2,000 workers and had a $200 million economic impact on the State while wine sales neared $50 million. In 2019, wineries sold 210,000 cases, or 461,000 gallons, of wine. As of 2022, Maryland commercial growers harvest more than 1,000 acres of grapes, apples, and other fruits for wine, cider, and mead.

  1. Together, some 115 wineries throughout the State produce over 500 wines.
  2. Formerly, the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Maryland Wine and Grape Growing had sought to support Maryland’s wineries and vineyards.
  3. In July 2022, the Commission was replaced by the Advisory Commission on Maryland Alcohol Manufacturing within the Department of Commerce ( Chapter 462, Acts of 2022 ).

Breweries. In 2021, some 125 licensed breweries operated throughout Maryland. Also as of 2021, the breweries produced 288,130 barrels of craft beer per year with an economic impact of $956 million. In August 2018, Guinness opened a brewery and taproom in Halethorpe (Baltimore County), its only brewery in the United States.

What is best crops to grow in Maryland?

Small Fruits – The Maryland Cooperative Extension reports that growing conditions in the Free State are well suited to strawberries, grapes, currants, blackberries, grapes, blueberries and raspberries. Small fruit plants tend to live a long time. Purchase virus-free stock; Crusader and Consort are resistant blackberry cultivars, for example.

Vine crops such as melons, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins and gourds often produce heavily in Maryland’s humid summers. The Maryland Cooperative Extension reports that growing conditions in the Free State are well suited to strawberries, grapes, currants, blackberries, grapes, blueberries and raspberries.

What was the dominant cash crop in Maryland?

In Virginia and Maryland, the main cash crop was tobacco. In South Carolina and Georgia, the main cash crops were indigo and rice.