In Maryland, Farming and Agriculture is the 5th largest economic driver, with local agriculture sales topping over $200 million. Approximately ¼ of all Howard County lands, or 40,000 acres, are farmland. Howard County specifically has a diverse agriculture industry of 335 farms. Howard County has developed initiatives to support the health and vitality of farming in the county.
Many different Howard County organizations met to create county initiatives to support Howard County farm industry. This group is led by James Zoller, the Agricultural Coordinator in the Office of Community Sustainability, and is comprised of the Department of Planning and Zoning, the Agriculture Land Preservation Program, the Howard County Soil Conservation District, the Howard County Economic Development Authority and County Administration.
The initiatives developed by the above group cover four areas:
- Unifying and better coordinating various county agriculture programs
- Supporting projects that help our local farms remain profitable
- Educating the community about the needs and challenges of farming operations to increase community cooperation
- Ensuring that thoughtful, supportive legislation is in place to govern property and farming rights