DAVIDSONVILLE, MD. – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Census of Agriculture, released yesterday, shows Maryland following the alarming nationwide trend of lost acres of farmland. The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reported that from 2017 to 2022, Maryland lost over 12,000 acres of farmland. On a positive note, Maryland gained 121 farms during the same timeframe, a testament to the strength of small and first generation farms in Maryland.
“The 2022 Census of Agriculture shows that our organization’s mission to strengthen and grow Maryland agriculture is needed now more than ever,” said Maryland Farm Bureau (MDFB) President Jamie Raley. “We will continue our steadfast advocacy of Maryland farmers to ensure agriculture remains viable in our state.”
Key takeaways from 2017 to 2022 in Maryland’s Census of Agriculture include:
- A net gain of 121 farms
- A loss of 12,086 acres of farmland
- A gain of 19,207 acres of soybeans
- A loss of 17,409 acres of corn
- A loss of 141 broiler chicken farms
- A gain of 504 acres of orchards
In Maryland, MDFB has been sounding the alarm on disadvantageous policies that contribute to the loss of farmland. This includes solar siting on class 1 and 2 agricultural soils and excessive taxation on agricultural products and property. Our nearly 10,000 grassroots members recently identified right-to-farm, agricultural education, and wildlife management as their biggest issues of concern.
Across the United States, the census reported 141,733 fewer farms and a loss of more than 20 million acres of farmland from just five years earlier.
“The latest census numbers put in black and white the warnings our members have been expressing for years,” said American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall. “Increased regulations, rising supply costs, lack of available labor and weather disasters have all squeezed farmers to the point that many of them find it impossible to remain economically sustainable.
The Census of Agriculture is conducted every five years, providing a comprehensive count of American farms generating over $1,000 a year. MDFB actively encourages its members to participate in the census to ensure accurate agricultural statistics that better inform decision-making. Additional information on the census can be found on the NASS website.