[color photograph of rooster]

Rooster, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, May 2000. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

Agriculture remains the largest single land use in Maryland, with 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.

The 1997 growing season brought dry weather that benefited wheat and barley, but hampered corn and soybeans. Gross farm income for Maryland totaled $1.78 billion in 1997. Below normal rainfall for the second half of 1998 also lowered some crop yields. Gross farm income in 1998 was $1.77 billion.

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.

[color photograph of folk art cow]

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, 2000

July 18, 2000   
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