A Rich Heritage and Promising Future for Farmland
Montgomery County is now well known as a major hub for Life Science, IT and Cybersecurity companies. But long before these sectors were in a mainstay, agriculture was – and continues to be – a very strong and important presence. With 561 farms and 350 horticultural companies, these industries combine to produce close to $300 million in economic impact. The county has a very active Office of Agriculture that can provide resources and answer inquiries. From Poolesville and Germantown to Clarksburg and Olney, the great expanses of farmland are crown jewels of Montgomery County contributing to our growing Agribusiness.
Preserves Montgomery County’s strong agricultural heritage
Spans rural Damascus and Poolesville, with crossover into Beallsville, Sunshine and Dickerson
Contributes millions of dollars to the local economy
Encompasses pick-your-own fruit farms, a winery, biking and hiking routes
Thinking ahead to protect farmland
In 1980, a forward-thinking Montgomery County Council created the Agricultural Reserve,93,000 acres of farmland and rural space in the County, protected for farmland preservation. A strong agricultural heritage provides a diverse business community and a strong economic base. Although primarily a working agricultural landscape, the Agricultural Reserve offers County residents and visitors abundant activities and new opportunities from pick-your-own fruit farms and a winery to bike routes and scenic vistas.
ACRES OF DESIGNATED FARM AND OPEN SPACE
RESIDENTS EMPLOYED IN FARMING AND HORTICULTURE
FARMS IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY
GENERATED ANNUALLY FROM FARMING AND HORTICULTURE
Family-Owned farming in MoCo, dating back generations
A majority of farms in Montgomery County are family owned operations, many dating back generations. These hardworking folks are great job builders, employing upwards of 10,000 residents. Of the county’s 540 farms, 42% are farmed as a primary occupation.
You’ll find over 10,000 horses in the county, which have become a major component of the agricultural industry. This represents a growing opportunity for farmers in supplies, services and products needed to support the horse population, which exceeds the population of cows. In addition to horse farming, there are beef and dairy farms, along with farms that produce vegetables, soy beans, wheat, nuts, corn and grain.
Initiatives to help potential new farmers plant roots
The county is committed to preserving farmland, including supporting new farmers. The New Farmer Project provides mentoring and specialized business training like marketing, accounting, business planning and advanced sustainable farm practices – with opportunities for private, long-term leased sites right away. Land Link Montgomery helps beginner and experienced farmers with available land and farms within Montgomery County, Maryland and the Greater D.C. Region.
From farm-to-table and farm-to-markets across the county
Often the wonderful produce and other foods you see at the colorful farmers markets come directly from our area farms. Local restaurants buy directly from our local farmers – better foods and better for the environment. About 38%, or 217 farms, produce table food crops and products that go directly to consumers. Montgomery County is home to a large number of horticultural companies, second in the state. From nurseries and landscaping companies to sod farms and arborists, MoCo is rich in horticultural.
Montgomery County’s 93,000-acre Agricultural Reserve, established in 1980, is significant as one of the most famous, most studied and most emulated programs of its kind in the United States. Counties around the country, in states from California to Connecticut, have followed the Agricultural Reserve model and adopted its development transfer tools to preserve farmland and limit development.
Take advantage of Tax Credits and Financial Incentives
Generous incentives abound in Montgomery County. Find more information about tax credits, grant and loan programs, equity investment funds and more. LEARN MORE >
Mount Airy, MD
Rock Hill Orchard is a local gem – an authentic farm experience with a sustainable, sensible way of thinking. Pick your own flowers, peaches, apples and seasonal vegetables, and browse the wonderful farmers market. Check out the cows being milked by a robotic milking machine. Rock Hill is the only farm in MoCo making its own delicious ice cream. Taste for yourself. This is organic, ‘new’ farming at its finest.