ANNAPOLIS - The United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Maryland Field Office recently released its annual statistical report indicating that Maryland farm receipts for 2005 totaled $1.62 billion dollars, down seven percent from $1.75 billion in 2004. Despite the overall decrease, producers of hay and small grains benefited from the nearly ideal early growing conditions and livestock producers enjoyed fairly strong prices throughout 2005. As measured by farm receipts, broiler production again represented Maryland's largest agricultural sector, followed by greenhouse and nursery, dairy, corn, and soybeans.
"Despite a decrease in farm receipts, agriculture remains one of the most important industries for Maryland's economy," said Agriculture Secretary Lewis R. Riley. "When farmers are profitable, communities can benefit strongly from retail sales, job opportunities and overall quality of life. We continue to urge citizens to support Maryland agriculture because profitable farming is the best way to keep agricultural land in production - something that is more important than ever in the face of today's intense development pressure."
Commodities with the most significant decreases in revenue from the previous year were eggs, down 32 percent; corn, down 25 percent; and soybeans, down 21 percent. The leading commodity in Maryland, in terms of receipts to farmers, was broilers with $565 million dollars generated; a nine percent decrease from 2004. Following broilers in total receipts were greenhouse and nursery ($354 million, down two percent), milk ($187 million, down five percent), corn and soybeans. There was some good news though, barley revenue was up 14 percent and revenue from fruit was up 18 percent.
The 2005 edition of "Agriculture in Maryland" documents details related to the past production year and provides comparisons to the previous four seasons. The statistics in the report are used to administer and support USDA farm programs that benefit Maryland farmers, to determine the feasibility of new ventures, and to direct future program research and development. Copies of the report can be obtained by contacting the Maryland Field Office of NASS at 410-841-5740 and the data included in the publication can be accessed at http://www.nass.usda.gov/md.
Source: Maryland Department of Agriculture