ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Maryland Public Television’s (MPT) popular original series Maryland Farm & Harvest, now in its eighth season, takes a look at impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on farmers and agriculture-related businesses in Maryland during the second episode in a two-part series airing Tuesday, January 26, at 7 p.m. on MPT-HD.
The episode takes viewers to sites in Carroll, Frederick, Howard, and Queen Anne’s counties, where they will see how the pandemic is affecting Maryland farms, learn about strategies farmers are employing to keep crops and livestock safe, and find out how some farms are adapting and even thriving during the challenging conditions of the past year. The first part of this series aired on December 15 and can be viewed on MPT’s website at mpt.org/programs/farm/.
The Maryland Farm & Harvest: Agriculture and COVID-19 (Part Two) special episode features the following segments:
Ag Education Moves Online With a Virtual Livestock Auction (Carroll and Howard Counties). Raising livestock is a rite of passage for many kids who participate in 4-H, a youth development program with its roots in agriculture. When the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of many county and state fair events, a group of people from Carroll and Howard counties worked together to ensure these hard-working kids still had a chance to show and sell their animals virtually. Viewers meet the Troppman family from Woodstock and learn what it takes to organize and participate in an online livestock auction. After that, viewers see the kids’ reactions on the day of the big sale.
Protecting Maryland’s Poultry Farms from Bird Flu (Queen Anne’s County). Before 2020, few people focused on virus testing, contact tracing, and quarantines. Maryland poultry farmers, however, have long been familiar with these as they work hard to protect their flocks from the dangerous disease known as avian influenza. At Relief Farm in Centreville, farmer Andrew McLean has a flock of 180,000 birds. During a visit to the farm, Dr. David Shapiro of Perdue Farms explains the importance of biosecurity on farms and demonstrates how chickens are regularly tested for bird flu.
Ask a Farmer: How Have You Adapted to COVID-19? In this new segment, Maryland Farm & Harvest producers interview farmers across the state and hear how they are adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic. Farmers from Ellicott City, Ingleside, Thurmont, and Woodsboro offer their insights.
The Local Buy: Agritourism and COVID-19 Safety (Frederick County). Nearly 300 farms across the state participate in agritourism activities and autumn is peak season. However, as COVID-19 restrictions prohibited large gatherings, farmers faced a huge financial risk. Before the fall season began, the state of Maryland released guidelines to help farms stay open and stay safe. The Local Buy host Al Spoler visits Summers Farm near Frederick, where Teresa Summers shows how she is working hard to keep employees and guests safe while they enjoy all the farm has to offer. After a visit to the farm’s 15-acre pumpkin patch, Al Spoler shows off some delicious pumpkin cornbread. A recipe for this dish will be made available at mpt.org/farm.
The episode ends with Maryland Farm & Harvest host Joanne Clendining acknowledging and thanking farmers for their hard work as they carry out the essential job of feeding the people of Maryland. Clendining recently earned her second Emmy® award from the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for her work on the series.
New episodes of Maryland Farm & Harvest air on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. on MPT-HD and are live-streamed on MPT’s website. The newest episode will be re-broadcasted on MPT-HD Thursdays at 11 p.m. and Sundays at 6 a.m. and on MPT2/Create® on Fridays at 7:30 p.m.
Nearly 10 million viewers have tuned in to Maryland Farm & Harvest since its 2013 debut. The series has taken MPT viewers to more than 360 farms, fisheries, and other agriculture-related locations during its first seven seasons, covering every Maryland county, as well as Baltimore City and Washington, D.C.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture is MPT’s co-production partner for Maryland Farm & Harvest. Major funding is provided by the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board.
Additional funding is provided by Maryland‘s Best, Maryland Agricultural Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO), MidAtlantic Farm Credit, Rural Maryland Council, Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund (MAERDAF), Maryland Soybean Board, Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts, Wegmans Food Markets, Maryland Nursery, Landscape & Greenhouse Association, Seafood Marketing Advisory Commission, Maryland Farm Bureau, and The Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment.
Other support comes from the Mar-Del Watermelon Association, Eddie Mercer Agri-Services, Inc., and the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation (MAEF).
–Megan Guilfoyle, Maryland Department of Agriculture