News Release, Maryland Department of Agriculture
ANNAPOLIS, MD – The department is encouraging Marylanders to support their local farmers and rural communities this fall by visiting a Maryland farm that offers agritourism activities. Maryland agritourism operations provide opportunities for the general public to learn about farming, agriculture, and where their food comes from.
“Agritourism is a growing industry here in Maryland and it is a great way to show Marylanders what life on the farm is really like,” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “I encourage all Marylanders to visit one of the many farms around the state that offers agricultural recreation opportunities. From hayrides to corn mazes to pumpkin patches, there is something on the farm for the whole family to enjoy.”
Maryland farmers offer a variety of fall activities as a low-cost way for families to spend time together on the farm. This is the perfect time of year to experience the fun of selecting your own pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns, getting lost in a corn maze, picking Maryland apples, taking a hayride, or attending a fall festival. Depending on the farm, visitors may be able to enjoy a variety of other activities, including: farm stands with in-season produce, petting farms, pony rides, live music, decorations, fresh apple cider, home-baked goods, face painting, and more.
According to a recent study on the economic impact of agritourism in Maryland, Grow & Fortify and BEACON at Salisbury University found that a majority of agritourism activities in Maryland involve: festivals, fairs, farmers markets, farm stands, and farm visits. The study also found that Maryland hosts more than 30 agriculture-related festivals and fairs that attract over a million visitors annually. These agritourism events generate over $162 million in economic impact and support over 1,000 jobs that can be linked to value-added agriculture.
As Maryland farmers face a host of challenges, many have embraced agritourism as a way to diversify their operations, create additional revenue, and allow them to pass the farm down to the next generation. According to the most recent Census of Agriculture, Maryland had 295 farms that offered agritourism and recreational services in 2017. A majority of agritourism operations are on small farms ranging in 1 to 50 acres, making agritourism services critical to the longevity of many small family farms.
Show your support for Maryland farmers and the state’s agriculture industry by visiting an agritourism operation this fall. For a list of farms offering fall activities, visit Maryland’s Best website: www.marylandsbest.net/.