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NEWS
By TED SHELSBY | May 20, 2007
Data collectors will be knocking on doors across Maryland in coming weeks looking for pigs, goats cows and other animals. Field workers will gather information as part of an annual nationwide survey on land use and agriculture activity. The survey is being done for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agriculture Statistics Services, which measures nearly every aspect of farming. Done each June, the study "is one of the largest and most comprehensive surveys conducted each year," said Barbara Rater, director of the service's Maryland office, which is in the state Department of Agriculture building in Annapolis.
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NEWS
April 15, 2007
Picture the Army's Fort Meade established as a national forest and not as western Anne Arundel County's engine of population growth and development. The first national forest in Maryland, it covered about 5,000 acres. But the designation of the pine tree forest, hardly a rare breed, didn't last long. President Calvin Coolidge gave the little-known executive order on April 14, 1925, and rescinded it three years later. The back story was political. The plan was to reforest several military posts by putting them under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture.
NEWS
By Ted Shelsby | April 15, 2007
In funding programs ranging from farmland preservation to cover crops, the General Assembly smiled on farmers during the 90-day session that ended last week. In a year when money is tight, lawmakers and the administration of Gov. Martin O'Malley seemed to favor the Department of Agriculture in the budget process, members of the farm industry say. Legislators approved $70 million for agriculture land preservation programs and $8.5 million for cover crop initiatives designed to limit pollution of waterways.
NEWS
April 8, 2007
Arthur F. Martin, a retired inspector for the Maryland Department of Agriculture, died of complications from a heart attack Monday at Oak Crest Village in Parkville. The former Pikesville resident was 97. Mr. Martin was raised on a farm in Smithsburg, east of Hagerstown. After graduating from Smithsburg High School, he earned a degree in agriculture from the University of Maryland in 1931. That year, he began working as a food inspector. He graded and inspected dairy and poultry products throughout the state, said his son-in-law, Gary Heichel of Martinsburg, W.Va.
NEWS
By Ted Shelsby | February 25, 2007
The same new homes that are gobbling up farmland across Maryland at an alarming rate have provided a boon to the turf grass industry, an often-overlooked sector of the state's agriculture industry. An estimated 1.1 million acres -- nearly 20 percent of Maryland's land -- is covered by maintained grass, and by far the greatest portion adorns the yards of single-family homes, according to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The study also concluded that turf grass is a $1.5 billion industry in Maryland, in terms of dollars spent on equipment and the production, maintenance and use of turf grass products and services.
BUSINESS
By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest and Nancy Jones-Bonbrest,Special to the Sun | January 3, 2007
Bob Trumbule Entomologist Maryland Department of Agriculture, Beltsville Salary --$53,000 a year Age --48 Years on the job --20 How he got started --After getting an undergraduate degree in horticulture and botany and a master's degree in entomology, both from the University of Maryland, College Park, Trumbule went to work for the state Department of Agriculture. He started as a nursery inspector. Inspections --Businesses that sell plants, such as greenhouses, nurseries and landscapers, must be licensed by the state, which requires regular inspections.
NEWS
By TED SHELSBY | November 19, 2006
In Iowa, the cornfields seem to stretch forever. In Kansas, wheat spreads out as far as the eye can see. Until you reach Goodland, that is, where a 24-by-32-foot reproduction of Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" painting rests on an 80-foot easel surrounded by a sea of sunflowers. The sunflowers and that painting along Interstate 70 in northwestern Kansas got me thinking about how Maryland fits in the national farm picture. I recalled the sunflower fields near Pylesville in northern Harford County, as well as the corn, soybean and wheat fields across the state and concluded that whoever first said that Maryland was America in miniature must have been talking about agriculture.
NEWS
By Ted Shelsby | November 5, 2006
Asian soybean rust, a contagious fungal disease that has devastated soybean crops in other parts of the world, has come dangerously close to making its way to Maryland for the first time. The fungus, which can reduce a soybean field's yield by as much as 80 percent if left untreated, was recently spotted as far north as Virginia, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While an infestation can have a serious economic impact on farming, it poses no threat to humans. The USDA has been tracking the spread of the plant-killing disease since it was discovered in Japan in 1902.
NEWS
By TED SHELSBY | October 29, 2006
David Smith and his family are gearing up for the big Thanksgiving rush. Smith is owner of Springfield Farm, in the Sparks section of Baltimore County, a family-run turkey farm dating to the 1600s. It is one of 18 operations listed in a directory published last week by the state Department of Agriculture of farms producing fresh turkeys and selling directly to the public. Smith says he will sell 650 free-range turkeys this year; the bulk of them will move out the weekend before Thanksgiving.
NEWS
By ROB KASPER | October 4, 2006
Now that it is OK to resume eating packaged spinach, are we going to be brave enough to try it again? The answer, in my case, is probably. The weather may make me do it. I had spinach the other night for supper. My wife cooked some spinach we had bought at the Sunday morning farmers' market in downtown Baltimore and mixed it with fettuccine and pine nuts. As I enjoyed this dish, I thought about what the recent troubles with bags of California-grown supermarket spinach infected with E. coli reveal about our eating habits.
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