On May 2nd, the USDA will finally release the full 2012 Census of Agriculture. Such news still matters in Maryland. Despite being the fifth most densely populated state in the union, Maryland still has over two million acres of farmland and agriculture generates an $8.25 Billion dollar impact on the state’s economy according to a report issued last year by the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland. The census report will give us another snapshot of the health of Maryland’s ag economy. Another way is to look at the trends.
Maryland consists of 6.3 million acres of land. Roughly 2/3rds of the state was in agriculture as recently as 1940. By 2012, it contains just under 1/3rd of the state, as over 1/3rd of the land was lost to suburban sprawl in just 82 years.
I reported on the preliminary results of the 2012 ag census on March 6th. Tomorrow, county data will be available, and more detailed statewide data.
The loss of farmland has leveled off in the last decade. Is Maryland agriculture turning the corner? Stay tuned. It matters!