Segments Look at Impact of Invasive Weed on Produce Farms and How Aerial Drone Photography Is Helping Maryland Farmers

News Release, Maryland Department of Agriculture

ANNAPOLIS, MD (Jan. 3, 2020) – Maryland Public Television’s (MPT) popular original series Maryland Farm & Harvest, now in its seventh season, will feature farms and locations in Baltimore, St. Mary’s, and Wicomico Counties during a new episode airing on Tuesday, January 7 at 7 p.m.

Maryland Farm & Harvest takes viewers on journeys across the state, telling stories about the farms, people, and technology required to sustain and grow Maryland’s number one commercial industry – agriculture. MPT’s production team filmed episode segments at more than four dozen farms in preparation for its seventh season.

The episode opens with introductions at Oak Spring Farm in Freeland (Baltimore County). Other segments featured on this week’s episode include:

  • Drones & Farming (Wicomico County): The series travels to Middle Neck Farms in Salisbury, where eighth-generation farmer Sam Parker is applying technology to support his 400-acre farm. Sam hired MEDTECH, run by Tom and Zach Marnane, to provide comprehensive information about his soybean fields. A Calvert County startup, MEDTECH uses drones to help farmers assess crop health. Based on the drone’s infrared photography, the firm can tell farmers if plants need more or less water or fertilizer, identify where pests are harming plants, and see other problems before the human eye can identify them. This cutting-edge technology is helping farmers be more efficient and cost-effective.
  • Combatting Palmer Amaranth (St. Mary’s County): A dangerous weed has invaded southern Maryland, but farmers are fighting back. Palmer Amaranth is spreading across the country at an alarming rate, and it can crowd outcrops like corn and soybeans if left unchecked. To make matters worse, the weed has developed resistance to common herbicides. However, on Ernest Morgan’s farm in Mechanicsville, he is working with University of Maryland Extension agent Ben Beale to research the best ways to stop this aggressive plant.
  • The Local Buy: Willow Valley Eggs (Baltimore County): Segment host Al Spoler stops for breakfast at Willow Valley Farm in Glen Arm, where farmer Jamie Enders is raising 500 cage-free chickens. Al goes on an egg hunt and then learns a delicious recipe for egg clouds from Jamie’s wife, Robin. The recipe is available at

Maryland Farm & Harvest airs on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. on MPT-HD and is rebroadcast on Thursdays at 11:30 p.m. and Sundays at 6 a.m. Each show also airs on MPT2 on Fridays at 7:30 p.m. Previous episodes of the series can be viewed for free on the MPT app and online at MPT’s website.

Viewers can join in on the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by using the hashtag #MDFarmHarvest.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture is MPT’s co-production partner for Maryland Farm & Harvest. Major funding is provided by the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board.

Additional funding is provided by: Maryland’s Best; the Maryland Agricultural Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation; MidAtlantic Farm Credit; the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program; the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation; the Rural Maryland Council; and the Maryland Soybean Board. Another support comes from: the Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts; Wegmans Food Markets; the Maryland Nursery, Landscape & Greenhouse Association; the Maryland Seafood Marketing Fund; the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service; the Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.; the Maryland Farm Bureau; The Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment; Mar-Del Watermelon Association; Eddie Mercer Agri-Services, Inc.; and Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...