Skip to main content
 

Welcome to the Office of Agriculture


Agriculture in the News!

Click on our calendar for Upcoming Events


Food Safety Modernization Act Training

The Maryland Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the University of Maryland and University of Maryland Extension, is offering three trainings for food safety: 

1) FDA-approved training curriculum for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Rule,
2) FDA approved training curriculum for FSMA Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule, and
3) Basic GAP training.


FSMA is the first comprehensive update to federal food safety laws since 1938. It sets new standards for food handling across the entire food chain with rules for businesses ranging from farms and food processors to food shippers, importers, retailers, and others. FSMA is also the first federal food safety law that includes specific rules for produce farms. 

Farmers are encouraged to attend these very important trainings so that you can learn what will be needed to meet the standards required under FSMA.  There are several rules for implementing FSMA that are critically important for Maryland farmers to be aware of.  They consist of the Produce Safety Rule for produce farms and the Preventive Controls Rule for Human Food for processing facilities.  If you are a farmer that grows and process food, then you may need to be in compliance with both of these rules.
Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) are best practices for reducing food safety hazards for produce on the farm.  Many of the basic principles for reducing food safety risks are similar between GAP and FSMA. Farms that are familiar with GAP will be well prepared to comply with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule.

Details Concerning the Food Safety Modernization Act Training:

  • Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule. Meets the FDA Produce Safety Rule mandate for training for a supervisor or responsible party for each farm – Certificate Obtained.  Cost: $20

  • Food Safety Modernization Act Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule. Meets the FDA Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule mandate for key personnel responsible for food safety becoming Preventive Controls Qualified – Certificate Obtained. Cost:  $40

  • Hybrid – Produce Safety Rule and Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule. Meets the FDA training requirements for both Rules – two certificates obtained. Cost: $50

  • Register by emailing or calling:  Rohan V. Tikekar at 301-405-4509 or rtikekar@umd.edu or Justine Beaulieu at jbeauli1@umd.edu

Locations and Dates:
Baltimore County Extension Office, Cockeysville

  • February 8 - Produce Safety Rule, 7:30 am – 5:00 pm

Wye Research & Education Center, Queenstown

  • February 22 - Produce Safety Rule, 7:30 am – 5:00 pm

  • February 23-25 - Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule, 9:00 am – 5:15 pm

Western Maryland Research and Education Center, Keedysville

  • March 8 - Produce Safety Rule, 7:30 am – 5:00 pm

  • March 9-11 - Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule, 9:00 am – 5:15 pm

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) for Produce locations and dates (Cost: $15 to cover lunch and materials):

 For More information about the Food Safety Modernization Act is on the department’s website at www.mda.maryland.gov/fsma.


Buy Local Challenge Support Local Agriculture:
Now available online!  From My Backyard to Our Bay
A Howard and Montgomery County Resident's Guide to Improving Our Environment and Our Drinking Water...(  read more )

Topics of Interest:
Attention Fruit and Vegetable Producers! Are you looking for a wholesale buyer for your produce? Download our list of  Regional Wholesale Produce Buyers (92 kb/PDF).
Looking for a reliable source of fresh, local fruits and vegetables for the next growing season? Join one of Montgomery County's  Community-Supported Agricultural Operations (CSAs). Hurry, subscriptions are limited and fill up fast!
Deer Management - Find out how the Division is supporting County deer management efforts.
Farmland Preservation - Learn how to preserve your farm for future generations.
Publications - Download pamphlets, the Montgomery County Horse Study, the Montgomery County Farm Directory and other agricultural publications.

Ag Facts - Download fact sheets, or access information about agricultural use assessments as well as State and County Agricultural Transfer Taxes

New Farmer Project - Information regarding the New Farmer Project

The Office of Agriculture
  •  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 - 540 farms and 350 horticultural enterprises - produces more than $287 million in economic contribution and employs more than 10,000 residents.  
  • 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.
Our office  cooperates with the following departments, agencies and nonprofit organizations:
Nonprofit and other cooperating organizations:
The Montgomery County Farm Bureau
The Montgomery County Food Council
The Montgomery County Food Council was established as an advisory board to develop a bold vision for a Sustainable Community Food System Initiatives for Montgomery County.  Officially launched in February 2012, its 19 current Council Members broadly represent the food system both substantively and geographically, and include chef restaurateurs, food entrepreneurs, and representatives of local government, non-profits, and business.
Montgomery Countryside Alliance
National Capital Farms


Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry

The Office of Agriculture · 18410 Muncaster Road · Derwood, Md 20855
Phone: 301-590-2823 · Fax: 301-590-2839

Go Top