Poultry farming is a specialized agricultural activity concentrated in the Piedmont counties near Baltimore, but especially on the Eastern Shore. Broilers account for most of the farm income from poultry farming. Eggs are produced for the large, urban markets close by. In addition, some turkeys and full-grown chickens are raised and sold for meat. Dairy farming is concentrated in the Piedmont counties but is also carried on in the western valleys and on the Eastern Shore. Most of the milk is sent to large urban centers. In addition, some beef cattle and hogs are raised in Maryland.
In 2008 there were 12,850 farms in Maryland. Relatively few had income sufficient for their operators to survive by farming alone.
Agricultural practices and farm prosperity vary considerably from place to place within the state. In the western mountains, subsistence farmers, like their counterparts elsewhere in Appalachia, exist on very low income. However, the commercial fruit growers in Hagerstown Valley and other valleys are relatively prosperous. Dairying predominates in the Piedmont region, especially in the counties of the Baltimore metropolitan area. Prosperous farmers specialize in producing milk and eggs for urban markets. In addition, some dairy farmers use surplus milk to feed high-quality calves and hogs, which are sold for meat. In southern Maryland nearly all the commercial farmers, many of whom are tenant farmers, specialize in raising tobacco. On the Eastern Shore much of the annual farm income is derived from the sale of livestock and livestock products. Broilers are raised mainly in the southern counties, while dairy farming tends to predominate in the north.
The harvesting of shellfish in Chesapeake Bay dominates commercial fishing activities in Maryland. Blue crabs, clams, oysters, and horseshoe crabs are the most valuable shellfish caught in Maryland waters. Since the mid-1960s Maryland has been one of the top-ranking states in the quantity of oysters harvested annually. Large shipments of clams are regularly sent to New England restaurants to be served fried or steamed. The remainder of the commercial fishing catch includes white perch, spiny dogfish, black sea bass, goosefish, croaker, and menhaden, which are taken mainly in the bay, and flounder, which are caught in offshore waters. Catfish and bullheads also contribute significantly to the state’s income. The catch of Maryland’s fisheries in 2007 was valued at $52 million.
Forests cover 41 percent of the state’s land area, but large-scale forestry and lumbering operations typical of some parts of the South have not developed in Maryland. Nearly all of the state’s commercial forest lands are in small privately owned farm woodlots. "Maryland" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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