Early agricultural interests in Maryland were represented by the Board of Agriculture under auspices of the University of Maryland. In 1972, the Maryland General Assembly approved legislation establishing the Maryland Department of Agriculture on the basis of agriculture's growing importance and impact to the economy of the state. A year later, the Maryland Department of Agriculture became a full fledged part of state operations.
Headquarters of the MDA is at 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway in Annapolis, but branch offices are located at several strategic sites around the state in order to serve local needs.
Many activities of the MDA are regulatory in nature, others are assigned to a category of public service and some are educational or promotional in scope. All are intended to provide the maximum protection possible for the consumer as well as promote the economic well-being of farmers, food and fiber processors and businesses engaged in agricultural related operations.
Currently the Maryland Department of Agriculture is comprised of three operating units: