The Agricultural Services Division was created to support and promote the viability of the agricultural industry in Montgomery County. Agricultural activities occupy about one-third of Montgomery County's land area and the County's diverse agricultural industry - 561 farms and 350 horticultural enterprises - produces more than $243 million in economic contribution and employs more than 10,000 residents.
The Agricultural Services Division works to increase the public's awareness of the value and economic impact of agriculture. In order to preserve working farmland, the Division works closely with farmers in the County's Agricultural Reserve. More than half of the County's 93,000 acres of viable farmland is now preserved through transfer of development rights or easement purchase intiatives. Two years before its 2010 goal, the County achieved its farmland preservation goal to protect 70,000 acres of farmland.
The majority of Montgomery County farms are family-run operations, many reaching back several generations, and these farms are state-of-the-art agricultural operations, contributing to the County's incredibly strong economy. Preserving farmland as a resource ensures that Montgomery County will have agricultural production capabilities in the future.
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The Division cooperates with the following departments, agencies and nonprofit organizations:
Montgomery Soil Conservation District
Maryland Cooperative Extension in Montgomery County
The Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission
Maryland Department of Agriculture
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Farm Service Agency
National Capital Farms
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry