Wayne A. Cawley, Jr. Building
50 Harry S Truman Parkway
Annapolis, MD 21401 - 8960

The chief executive officer of the Department is the Secretary of Agriculture who is appointed by the Governor with Senate advice and consent. Responsible for daily operations, the Deputy Secretary is appointed by the Secretary with the Governor's approval. The Secretary of Agriculture also appoints the State Chemist, the State Veterinarian, and the Chief of Weights and Measures.

The Secretary is a member of the Governor's Executive Council; the Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation Subcabinet; the Governor's Council on the Chesapeake Bay; the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission; the Chesapeake Bay Trust; the Governor's Pesticide Council; and the Board of Regents, University System of Maryland. The Secretary also serves on the Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Board; the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation; the Children's Environmental Health and Protection Advisory Council; the Maryland Food Center Authority; the Maryland Horse Industry Board; the Interdepartmental Advisory Committee for Minority Affairs; the Rural Legacy Board; the Scenic and Wild Rivers Review Board; the Seafood Marketing Advisory Commission; the State Soil Conservation Committee; and the Maryland Winery and Grape Growers' Advisory Board. In addition, the Secretary co-chairs the Interagency Nutrient Reduction Oversight Committee, and serves on the Mid-Atlantic Poultry Health Council; and the Task Force on Resource-Based Industry in Maryland.

Within the Office of Secretary are the principal counsel and offices for communications, intergovernmental relations, and Chesapeake Bay Agricultural Programs (Code Agriculture Article, secs. 2-101 through 2-108).

The Board of Review hears and determines appeals from any decision of a Department of Agriculture agency or the Secretary of Agriculture, subject to judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act.

Appointed by the Governor with Senate advice and consent, the Board's seven members serve three-year terms. The Governor names the chair (Code Agriculture Article, secs. 2-401 through 2-405).

In 1961, the Maryland Agricultural Commission formed as the Agricultural Advisory Board (Chapter 470, Acts of 1961). It reorganized under its present name in 1968 (Chapter 552, Acts of 1968). The Commission's chief function is to advance Maryland agriculture and advise the Secretary of Agriculture. The Commission proposes agricultural improvements, promotes State agricultural industries and products, and reviews legislation for its impact on agriculture.

The Commission consists of twenty-four members. Twenty-three are appointed by the Governor for three-year terms. One serves ex officio (Code Agriculture Article, secs. 2-201 through 2-205).


Wayne A. Cawley, Jr. Building
50 Harry S Truman Parkway
Annapolis, MD 21401 - 8960

The Office of Administrative Services oversees central services, data systems services, fiscal services, personnel services, and the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation.


The Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation started in 1977 (Chapter 784, Acts of 1977). The Foundation implements the Agricultural Land Preservation Program. The Program's intent is to preserve productive agricultural land and woodland in Maryland, provide for the continued production of food and fiber, curb the extent of urban sprawl, and protect agricultural land and woodland as open space. The Program depends on the cooperation of county governments, which appoint local agricultural preservation advisory boards. Participation in the Program is voluntary on the part of landowners.

By agreement with the Foundation, landowners may initiate the creation of an agricultural preservation district in which subdivision and development are restricted for at least five years. The creation of such a district protects normal agricultural activities and enables landowners to make application to sell a development rights easement. Based upon the availability of funds allocated by the counties, the Foundation may acquire easements in accord with a competitive formula (defined by law) and subject to local recommendation and appraisal. Easements thus acquired are perpetual but may be repurchased after twenty-five years if certain procedures and requirements are met. By gift, devise, bequest, or grant, the Foundation also may receive easements in gross or other rights to restrict the use of agricultural land and woodland.

Maryland has preserved more farmland than any other state. As of June 30, 1999, Maryland had saved 342,509 acres in 2,581 agricultural preservation districts and acquired easements for permanent development rights on 167,388 acres.

The Foundation is governed and administered by a twelve-member Board of Trustees. Nine at-large members are appointed to four-year terms by the Governor who names one of these the chair. Three members serve ex officio. Upon recommendation of the at-large Trustees, the Secretary of Agriculture appoints the Executive Director (Code Agriculture Article, secs. 2-501 through 2-515).


Wayne A. Cawley, Jr. Building
50 Harry S Truman Parkway
Annapolis, MD 21401 - 8960

In 1973, the Office of Marketing, Animal Industries, and Consumer Services originated as the Division of Animal Industries within the Department of Agriculture. By 1978, the Division was renamed the Office of Animal Health and, by 1980, the Office of Animal Health and Consumer Services. It reorganized as the Office of Food Safety and Consumer Services in 1992 and received its present name in March 1997.

Six sections are directed by the Office: Agricultural Statistics Service; Animal Health; Aquaculture Development and Seafood Marketing; Grading Services, Egg Inspection, and Grain Laws; Marketing and Agricultural Development; and Weights and Measures. The Office also oversees the Maryland Horse Industry Board and the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.

The Maryland Horse Industry Board began as the State Board of Inspection of Horse Riding Stables in 1968 (Chapter 474, Acts of 1968). It was made part of the Department of Licensing and Regulation in 1970 (Chapter 402, Acts of 1970). The Board transferred to the Department of Agriculture in 1980 (Chapter 618, Acts of 1980), and assumed its present name in October 1998 (Chapter 416, Acts of 1998).

All horse riding stables where horses or ponies are let for hire in Maryland must be licensed by the Board. Sales barns, and stables that board five or more horses, or where five or more horses are sold annually, also are licensed by the Board. With the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture, the Board may appoint a qualified inspector and designate officers of county humane societies, societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, and licensed veterinarians to act as its agents and make inspections.

The Board advises the Department of Agriculture on matters affecting Maryland's horse industry; supports research on equine health and related issues; and promotes the use of horses and development of the horse industry in Maryland. It also demonstrates how equine activities help preserve green space and agricultural land; and develops and distributes information about Maryland's horse industry, its history, breeds, and recreational role.

Twelve members constitute the Board. Eleven are appointed to four-year terms by the Governor with the advice of the Secretary of Agriculture. The Secretary of Agriculture serves ex officio. Authorization for the Board continues until July 1, 2006 (Code Agriculture Article, secs. 2-701 through 2-719).

The State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners dates to 1894 (Chapter 273, Acts of 1894). The Board examines candidates for licenses to practice veterinary medicine in the State and judges their qualifications. Annually, it registers veterinarians and inspects veterinary hospitals. Upon complaints of illegal or unethical practices or sanitary violations, the Board may conduct hearings and pass judgment upon the charges. Court proceedings may be instituted by the Board against persons engaged in illegal practices.

The Board has seven members. They are appointed to five-year terms by the Governor upon recommendation of the Secretary of Agriculture and with Senate advice and consent. Authorization for the Board continues until July 1, 2011 (Code Agriculture Article, secs. 2-301 through 2-313).


The Agricultural Statistics Service originated as the Statistical Reporting Service in the mid-19th century and received its present name in 1986. The Service collects, summarizes, and publishes data relating to the production and marketing of agricultural products, agriculture prices and income, and agriculture and agribusiness. State statistics generally are available for acreage, yield, and production of major field crops, vegetables, fruits, livestock, and poultry; and monthly and seasonal or annual average prices, farm expenditures, and labor. For some commodities the Service also compiles county statistics.

These publications are issued by the Service: Maryland Agricultural Statistics (annually); Maryland Agri-Facts (bi-monthly); Weekly Crop and Weather Report; and Weekly Delmarva Broiler Report.


Duties of the Animal Health Section began in 1884 when the position of veterinary inspector was created to suppress disease in livestock and prevent epidemics (Chapter 157, Acts of 1884). Today, the Section safeguards the health of horses, food-producing livestock, and poultry, and works to control and eradicate diseases that economically affect producers or pose a threat to humans (Code Agriculture Article, secs. 3-101 through 3-503). The Section also monitors new diseases which could be transported into Maryland from another state or country.

To provide diagnostic services and assist veterinarians and farmers, the Section runs five laboratories in Centreville, College Park, Frederick, Oakland, and Salisbury. When necessary, testing and investigations are conducted on farms.


In Maryland, aquaculture is an agricultural responsibility. Aquaculture involves the controlled cultivation and harvest of aquatic plants and animals. Aquaculture crops in the State include hybrid striped bass, tilapia, catfish, trout, crawfish, oysters, and soft-shell crabs.

The National Aquaculture Act of 1980 encourages development of an aquaculture industry. In Maryland, the Department of Agriculture was designated in 1988 to promote development of aquaculture and coordinate State efforts in this field (Chapter 534, Acts of 1988). In that year, the Office of Aquaculture Programs was established by the Department to coordinate its aquaculture programs with those of the Department of Natural Resources, and the University System of Maryland. In 1992, the Office reorganized as Aquaculture Development and Marketing.

Seafood Marketing started in 1976 as an office within the Division of Economic Development under the Department of Economic and Community Development. In 1987, the Office of Seafood Marketing transferred to the Department of Agriculture as Seafood Marketing Services. It was renamed the Seafood Marketing Section in 1988, and simply Seafood Marketing in 1992. In July 1995, its functions were assigned to Aquaculture Development and Seafood Marketing.

Aquaculture Development and Seafood Marketing promotes increased distribution and consumption of Maryland seafood and also seeks to reduce its cost and improve its quality and marketability. The agency's Maryland Seafood Directory lists processors, wholesalers, distributors, and seafood market suppliers of seafood and aquaculture products.


Origins of Grading Services, Egg Inspection, and Grain Laws trace to the Field Inspection Service that functioned when the Department of Agriculture was created in 1972. The Service was one part of the Division of Inspection and Regulation by 1975. It was replaced by 1981 with the Grading Services and Egg Inspection Section of the Office of Animal Health and Consumer Services. In 1992, the Grading Services and Egg Inspection Section merged with the Grain Laws Section to form Egg Inspection, Grading, and Grain. It was renamed in 1997 as Grading Services, Egg Inspection, and Grain Laws. The Section oversees three separate programs of inspection, certification, and licensing.

The Grading Services Program conducts a voluntary certification program for producers and processors of numerous agricultural commodities, including poultry, eggs, fruits, vegetables, soybeans, and grain. Samples of agricultural commodities are evaluated for conformity with U.S. Department of Agriculture standards for quality, size, labeling, and packaging. Graders supervise the official identification of commodities meeting the established criteria (Code Agricultural Article, secs. 10-501 through 10-909).

The Egg Inspection Program enforces the Maryland Egg Law. Inspections performed at the processor, wholesale, food service and retail levels ensure that eggs sold in Maryland comply with standards for quality, size, labeling and record-keeping. Annually, wholesalers and packers of shell eggs must register with the Program.

Enforcement of the Salmonella enteritidis regulations jointly adopted by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is coordinated by the Program. Through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Federal Egg Law controlling the movement of inedible and restricted eggs also is enforced by the Program. Restricted eggs are those not suitable for consumption due to cracks, blood spots, leaks, or other problems (Code Agriculture Article, secs. 4-301 through 4-312).

The Grain Laws Program licenses grain dealers, as defined by law. The practice dates at least to 1888 when licenses were granted to Baltimore grain brokers (Chapter 416, Acts of 1888). Now, grain dealers annually must meet financial and insurance requirements. Each year, the Section also publishes the Directory of Grain Dealers.


Marketing and Agricultural Development began as the Division of Marketing when the Department of Agriculture formed in 1972. By 1983, the Division was renamed the Division of Agricultural Development and Marketing and, by 1985, the Office of Agricultural Development and Resource Conservation. In 1987, it became the Office of Marketing and Agricultural Development. It reorganized as Marketing in 1992 and received its current name in 1995. Programs include projects to improve quality and enhance presentation of agricultural commodities to the consumer; international marketing; market news and statistics services in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and a consumer marketing information program (Code Agriculture Article, secs. 10-101 through 10-204; 10-501 through 10-504; 10-601 through 10-606; 10-701 through 10-708; 10-801 through 10-807; 10-901 through 10-909).

The following publications are compiled by Marketing and Agricultural Development: Choose & Cut Christmas Tree Directory; Grain and Livestock (weekly); Maryland Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Users Guide; Maryland Hay and Straw Directory; Maryland Retail Farmers' Market Directory; Maryland Tobacco Report (radio tape-in season); Pick-Your-Own Fruit and Vegetable Directory; and Wholesale Directory-Maryland Christmas Tree Growers.

Under this unit are the Maryland Agricultural Fair Board, the Maryland Organic Certification Advisory Committee, the Tobacco Authority, and the Maryland Winery and Grape Growers' Advisory Board.


In 1641, the first Maryland law to regulate measures was enacted (Chapter 2, Acts of 1641). At that time, the county sheriff was entrusted with the responsibility. When the Department of Agriculture formed in 1972, the Office of Weights and Measures began its work under the Division of Inspection and Regulation. By 1975, the Office reformed as the Weights and Measures Section. The Section maintains and safeguards the State's primary standards, as well as secondary standards and equipment, for the enforcement of Maryland's Weights and Measures Law. The Section's Metrology Laboratory provides a wide variety of highly sophisticated measurements and calibrations in mass, volume, length, and thermometry.

The Section supervises the use and production of weighing and measuring devices, weights and measures, and packaged commodities offered for sale, sold, or in use in the State. This supervision extends to the methodology used to obtain accurate measurement and provides a means for value comparisons for consumers.

State laws for ensuring accuracy, equity, and the prevention of fraud in the sale and measurement of quantities, commodities, goods, or services are administered and enforced by the Section. In addition, the Section also licenses and tests personnel who determine butterfat content for dairies and milk cooperatives and personnel who calibrate farm milk tanks (Code Agriculture Article, secs. 11-101 through 11-509).


Wayne A. Cawley, Jr. Building
50 Harry S Truman Parkway
Annapolis, MD 21401 - 8960

The Office of Plant Industries and Pest Management originated in 1972 as the Division of Plant Industries. It became the Division of Plant Industries and Pest Management in 1980, and the Office of Plant Industries and Pest Management in 1984. The Office reorganized in 1987 as the Office of Plant Industries and Resource Conservation and, in 1990, resumed its earlier name.

Programs concerned with plants, plant pests, pest management, and pesticides are supervised by the Office. It also coordinates these programs with local, State and federal officials. In addition, the Office manages cooperative agreements with local, county, State and federal agencies.

Under the Office are six sections: Forest Pest Management; Mosquito Control; Pesticide Regulation; Plant Protection and Weed Management; State Chemist; and Turf and Seed.


The Forest Pest Management Section began by 1975 as the Forest Pest Management Program and the Gypsy Moth Control Program within the Pest Management Section of the Division of Plant Industries. In 1987, Forest Pest Management and Gypsy Moth Control merged to form the present Section. The Section protects forests and landscape trees by eradicating or controlling certain insect (particularly gypsy moth) infestations and disease. The Section also monitors forest health.

Cooperative Gypsy Moth Suppression Program. The gypsy moth is the most destructive forest pest of the eastern United States. It harms trees in wooded residential areas, parks, and recreation areas. Consequently, the moth is the subject of a State and a national quarantine program. This pest has been present in Maryland since 1971. Despite an active suppression program, the gypsy moth continues threatening unprotected trees in certain areas. The Cooperative Gypsy Moth Suppression Program works to manage the gypsy moth. Coordinated by the Forest Pest Management Section, the Program is a joint effort by local and State agencies and the U.S. Forest Service. Branch offices of the Forest Pest Management Section are located in Bel Air, Cheltenham, Cumberland, Denton, and Frederick.


Functions of the Mosquito Control Section date back to 1961 when a program of mosquito control was administered by the State Board of Agriculture. Today, the Section provides statewide mosquito control services through a cooperatively funded program. Branch offices are located in Riverdale, Salisbury, and Hollywood, Maryland. Environmentally compatible methods of pest management are used to control mosquitoes. In addition to implementing control measures, the Section monitors the environmental impact of the program, develops new control methods, and conducts epidemiological investigations of mosquito-borne diseases (Code Agriculture Article, secs. 5-401 through 5-405).


Administration of the Pesticide Applicators Law started in 1973 under the Division of Entomology. By 1975, the work continued under the Pest Management Section. A separate Pesticide Applicators Law Section formed in 1980 and became the Pesticide Regulation Section in 1987.

The Section regulates the sale, use, storage, and disposal of pesticides in Maryland. It licenses businesses engaged in commercial application of pesticides; trains and certifies commercial and private pesticide applicators; and enforces the Pesticide Applicators Law and Regulations. The Section also provides technical advice on the use of pesticides, and enforces federal laws and regulations governing pesticide use.

The Chief is the State's authority on matters relating to pesticide use and application (Code Agriculture Article, secs. 5-201 through 5-211).


In June 1997, the Plant Protection and Weed Management Section formed when the Plant Protection Section merged with the Weed Control Section. Programs for plant protection and weed control were part of the Division of Plant Industries when the Department of Agriculture began in 1972. The Plant Protection and Weed Management Section administers programs for nursery inspection, plant protection and quarantine, integrated pest management, and noxious weed control.

Plant Protection. The Section oversees programs for certified plant production, inspection and registration of honey bee colonies, and implementation of the Interstate Pest Control Compact. The Section serves as the State authority on plant pests and agricultural quarantines. With other State and federal regulatory agencies, it also serves as liaison for the Department (Code Agriculture Article, secs. 5-301 through 5-314, 5-501 through 5-507, 5-701 through 5-716, 5-801 through 5-805, 9-301 through 9-307, 9-601 through 9-606).

Weed Management. The Maryland Noxious Weed Law is administered by the Section. This law requires landowners or those who possess and manage land infested with Johnsongrass, shattercane, or thistles to eradicate or control these noxious weeds by practices prescribed by the Secretary of Agriculture. The noxious weed control program helps individuals manage noxious weeds through their own efforts and through a cooperative agreement between the State and participating counties. The Department encourages individuals to file a Noxious Weed Control Agreement, outlining methods and procedures for controlling noxious weeds on their land. Regulatory action may be taken against those who fail to manage noxious weeds. The Section also investigates complaints of multiflora rose-infestations on or near land used for agricultural production.

The Secretary of Agriculture has authority to declare other weeds noxious and place them under a control program. The Section Chief serves as the State's authority on weed control matters (Code Agriculture Article, secs. 9-401 through 9-405, 9-701 through 9-705).


The office of State Agricultural Chemist was created in 1847 to help farmers rejuvenate worn-out tobacco land (Chapter 249, Acts of 1847). The Chemist analyzed soil throughout the State, as well as marl and other mineral or vegetable deposits applied as fertilizers, and lectured and publicized his findings. During the guano boom of the 1840s and 1850s, a Guano Inspector also analyzed all guano imported through Baltimore to ensure that farmers got that for which they paid. Modern equivalents of such duties are carried out by the State Chemist Section.

The Section began under the Office of Animal Health and Consumer Services and moved in 1987 to the Office of Plant Industries and Resource Conservation (now Plant Industries and Pest Management). The Section samples and chemically tests and analyzes commercial fertilizers, feeds, pesticides, soil conditioners, composts, and liming materials sold in the State. The Section registers and examines the labels of these products as well. It determines if products conform to standards established under Maryland laws governing quality, contents, and labeling. These measures protect the consumer and the dealer from unscrupulous or careless manufacturers.

To implement the federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the Section works with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Additionally, Section chemists analyze meat and toxicology samples for the Office of Marketing, Animal Industries, and Consumer Services; test fruits, vegetables, commercial feeds, and soils for chemical residues; and make other determinations as required by the Department (Code Agriculture Article, secs. 5-101 through 5-114, 6-101 through 6-117, 6-201 through 6-221, 6-301 through 6-311).


As early as 1888, the General Assembly enacted legislation to protect farmers from unscrupulous seed salesmen making fraudulent claims. By 1912, the Seed Inspection Service formed to enforce the Maryland Seed Law. The Service reorganized in 1972 as the Turf and Seed Section within the Department of Agriculture. Today, the Section works to assure the availability of sufficient quantities of certified turf and seed. It directs and conducts certification programs by which turf and seed are produced to meet standards of purity, variety, germination, and other quality factors. From the evidence of field inspections or laboratory analysis, the Section rejects seed or sod not meeting certification standards.

To help consumers determine what to purchase, the Section also regulates the labeling of seed and sod at the time of marketing. A State testing laboratory is operated for both service and regulatory testing to assure compliance with label claims. The regulatory phase involves inspection, testing, reporting results, and corrective actions for each turf and seed lot found not to comply with provisions of the Turf Grass Law or the Seed Law (Code Agriculture Article, secs. 9-101 through 9-110, 9-201 through 9-214).


Wayne A. Cawley, Jr. Building
50 Harry S Truman Parkway
Annapolis, MD 21401 - 8960

The Office of Resource Conservation began in 1985 as the Office of Agricultural Development and Resource Conservation. Restructured as the Office of Plant Industries and Resource Conservation in 1987, it received its current name in 1989.

Through agricultural soil conservation and water quality programs, the Office works to control soil erosion and agricultural nonpoint-source water pollution. The Office coordinates its efforts with other Department programs and with county, State and federal agencies. This includes managing interagency cooperative agreements. For Chesapeake Bay Agricultural Programs, the Office serves as agency liaison and facilitates State and local agricultural involvement in tributary strategies.

Three sections carry out the work of the Office: Program Planning and Development; Resource Conservation Grants; and Resource Conservation Operations.


Organized in 1989, Program Planning and Development supports the State Soil Conservation Committee and the Office of Resource Conservation by planning, developing, and coordinating policy, programs, and public information. Soil and water conservation is coordinated with soil conservation districts, and agencies and organizations with related programs.

Agricultural Water Management Program. Program Planning and Development helps public drainage associations maintain agricultural drainage through cost-share maintenance and interagency review of plans for construction, reconstruction, operation, and maintenance.

Nutrient Management Program. This office oversees implementation of the Water Quality Improvement Act of 1998 (Chapter 324, Acts of 1998) which mandates nutrient management on Maryland farms. To protect and improve the health of Maryland waterways, the Act establishes strategies for reducing nutrient levels in streams and rivers feeding the Chesapeake Bay. Coordinated by Program Planning and Development, the Program helps individual farmers plan nutrient management of animal waste, sludge, and commercial fertilizers. It trains, certifies, and licenses persons who provide this service.


Resource Conservation Grants started in 1989 as the Conservation Grants Section. In 1992, the Section was renamed Resource Protection Incentives, and in 1994 received its present name. Resource Conservation Grants administers the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program.

Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program. Established in 1983, the Program reduces water pollution caused by nutrient and sediment erosion, and animal waste runoff. The Program helps farmers pay the costs of best land and water management practices to control pollution and improve water quality. These practices include the construction of animal waste storage facilities, grassed waterways, sediment basins, and spring developments. To retain nutrients, farmers are encouraged to plant winter cover crops, such as wheat, rye and barley. Farmers also can receive cost-share assistance to transport excess poultry litter off the farm.


Resource Conservation Operations began in 1989 as an outgrowth of the Soil Conservation Administration. It reorganized as Resource Management Services in 1992 and resumed its earlier name in 1994.

State resources that support soil and water conservation programs on agricultural land are administered by Resource Conservation Operations. This section guides and assists twenty-four soil conservation districts and gives financial, administrative and technical support for conservation programs. Resource Conservation Operations also provides technical assistance to farmers and landowners on best management practices to control soil erosion and agricultural nonpoint source pollution.

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