Preliminary Ag Census Data Shows Maryland has Fewer but Larger farms
The USDA has released preliminary results of the Census of Agriculture showing that in Maryland we have fewer but bigger farms than we did when the last Ag Census was conducted in 2007. New numbers show that we have 578 (or 4.5%) fewer farms – for a total of 12,834 farms; but the average size has increased from 160 to 166 acres.
From an economic standpoint, the value of agricultural products sold in Maryland increased 24 percent to $2.27 billion, with an average per farm increase of 30 percent to $185,329. The latest figures also indicate that the rate of farmland loss is slowing in Maryland. There was a 1.0 percent (21,011 acre) loss in 2012 compared to a 1.3 percent (25,874 acre) loss in 2007 and 5.5 percent (115,433 acre) loss in 2002.
USDA will release the full Census results with much more information, including data to the county level, in May.
Read the MDA News Release.
It's Spring (almost)!
March 1 marks the start of the “fertilizer” season for
farmers, and MDA wants to help citizens understand what farming
practices they can expect to see in the next few weeks.
Any farmer who earns more than $2,500 a year or manages
more than 8,000 pounds of live animal weight must, by law, follow a nutrient
management plan. These plans specify how much fertilizer, manure or other
nutrient sources may be safely applied to crops to achieve yields and prevent
excess nutrients from impacting waterways.
On March 1, farmers will start working their fields in
accordance with those plans, and Marylanders can expect to
see tractors in the fields as farmers apply manure and other fertilizers.
Poultry and livestock farmers store manure over
the winter to conserve its valuable nutrients and protect the Chesapeake Bay
On March 1, citizens may well see farmers taking
manure out of storage structures and outdoor stockpiles to prepare
their fields for planting. Resident who see these stockpiles being spread on
fields should know that this is likely being done according to the latest
scientific and conservation practices.
Read more about what to see & expect.