Maryland Grain Farmers Make $426
Maryland grain farmers are in the
middle of a $426 million investment that has a significant
economic impact on dozens of businesses, rural communities
and, in fact, the entire state, according to the Maryland
Grain Producers Association (MGPA).
dollar investment, perhaps better known as planting, occurs
in just a few weeks every spring,” said Jason Scott, MGPA
past-president and farmer from the Eastern Shore.
“It’s a tremendous investment,
but one that also is subject to Mother Nature and the whims
of outside markets.”
made by farmers includes everything from seed to fertilizer
to all the other inputs it takes to get the crop in the
ground and growing. Those purchases come from local seed
dealers, cooperatives and dozens of other businesses that
benefit from farmers planting corn, wheat, hay, barley,
soybeans, and more.
“To put this $426
million investment into perspective, compare it to
construction investments in Baltimore,” Scott said. “To
build stadiums for the Ravens and Orioles, construction
spanned several years and cost about $330 million.
While the facilities are
valuable economic investments, it is only a fraction of the
investment farmers make each and every spring.”
On average, grain
farmers spend more than $284 per acre to get the crop in the
ground and off to a good start, based on estimates by the
University of Maryland Extension.
Multiplied by the 1.5 million
acres estimated to be planted in grain in the state by the
U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides the $426 million
investment by Maryland grain farmers.
That investment doesn’t include the whole
story, though. “Those dollars get circulated through
communities and the entire state,” Scott said. Using an
economic multiplier of 2.37 for grain crops from the Center
for Agricultural and Natural Resource Policy, planting grain
this year will actually provide over a one billion dollar
economic impact across the state.
Those estimates don’t include land costs
or the expense of harvesting, hauling and storing the final
crop. All those costs come later and provide their own
“While the dollars invested in getting the
crops off to a good start are impressive, it also doesn’t
include the value of those crops once they are harvested,”
Scott said. “From feed to fuel to fiber, those crops are
worth a whole lot more than just bushels of grain sold into
Grain harvested this fall will be used as
feed for livestock and poultry, which results in high-value
protein products that Marylanders and people all over the
world enjoy. Ethanol is another important market. That
process involves taking corn or barley and creating two
products – fuel that helps keep gas prices $0.50-$0.75 lower
than they otherwise would be, and millions of tons of dried
distillers grains, another high-protein feed product for
livestock and poultry.
material Polylactic Acid (PLA) is made from starch-rich
plants such as corn and wheat.
PLA is used in everything from
plastic cups to fabrics and replaces its petroleum-based
counterparts in the process.
“It’s a big investment farmers make every
year in the hope Mother Nature will cooperate and they’ll
get a good crop,” Scott said. “In the end, everyone in the
state benefits many times over.”