[color photograph of tractor exhibition, Cecil County Fair] Agriculture remains the largest single land use in Maryland, with 2,100,000 acres, or roughly 33% of total land area used for farming. Approximately 350,000 people are employed in some aspect of agriculture, making it the largest commercial industry in the State. In 1999, some 12,400 farms averaged 169 acres each. The majority of farmland in Maryland is located in the north central part of the State and the upper Eastern Shore.

Tractor pull event, Cecil County Fair, Fair Hill, Maryland, July 2000. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
[color photograph of Frederick County Fair produce]

Produce, Frederick County Fair, Frederick, Maryland, September 2000. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

The 1999 growing season brought dry weather for the third straight year. Wheat and barley benefited, but corn and soybeans continued with lower yields. Gross farm income for Maryland totaled $1.76 billion in 1999. Below normal rainfall for the second half of 1998 also had lowered some crop yields. Gross farm income in 1998 was $1.77 billion.

The poultry industry continues to grow in Maryland. In 1999, some 294.4 million broiler chickens were produced, up from 290.9 million in 1998. Maryland ranks seventh among all states in the number of broilers raised in 1999. Egg production also rose from 867 million in 1998 to 894 million in 1999.

[color photograph of folk art cow]

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 Agricultural Statistics Service, a State statistical office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Maryland Cooperative Extension is a statewide education system operated by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources of the University of Maryland, College Park. For farmers and others involved in agriculture, the Service offers problem-solving resources and scientific expertise through its network of county extension offices.

Traditional showcases of agriculture persist in the State, including the annual Maryland State Fair, at Timonium, annual county fairs, and regional farmers' markets.

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 Maryland Manual On-Line, 2001

April 1, 2001   
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