Spotlight on Maryland

June 30, 2011

Though not often thought of as a Mecca for farmers—as one of the original 13 colonies, Maryland has always been a major player when it comes to agriculture and this country’s economy. In fact, agriculture is Maryland’s largest industry, supporting over 350,000 jobs and generating more than $2 billion in revenue.

Outside the sprawling metropolitan area made up of Washington, DC, and Baltimore lies some of the oldest farmland in the nation. And with thousands of rivers and tributaries cutting across it to feed the Chesapeake Bay, it’s not surprising that it’s also some of the most fertile.

Maryland farmers recognize the importance of agriculture to the state and are doing their part to protect this life-giving watershed, working with both public and private organizations to better manage animal waste and prevent erosion. Good thing too, as the state’s 13,000 farms depend on it.

  • In 2009, 32% of Maryland’s total land area was used for agriculture—that’s an area of more than 2 million acres.
  • Maryland is the nation’s 8th largest producer of broiler chickens, with the industry generating $640 million and accounting for 39% of total agricultural output in the state in 2009.
  • Maryland poultry exports generated over $107 million that same year.
  • Maryland laying hens produced 554 million eggs in 2009, generating over $33 million in sales.
  • Corn production accounted for over 10% of Maryland’s farm receipts in 2009, or $178 million.
  • Maryland soybean farmers produced nearly 20 million bushels in 2009. A large portion of this production was exported, generating $105 million.
  • Wheat production in Maryland in 2009 was 11.7 million bushels while barley production was 3.36 million bushels.
  • Maryland farmers produced over 5% of the U.S. total of summer potatoes in 2009.
  • Maryland has almost 60,000 milk cows. In 2009, these cows produced about 120 million gallons of milk, or 2,000 gallons per cow.
  • There are about 30,000 hogs on Maryland hog farms.

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