ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Public Television’s (MPT) popular original series Maryland Farm & Harvest, now in its ninth season, will feature farms and locations in Harford, Montgomery, and Queen Anne’s counties and Sussex County, Delaware as part of a “what animals eat” themed episode at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 23. Viewers can watch on MPT-HD and online at mpt.org/livestream.
The weekly series takes viewers on a journey across the Free State, telling interesting stories about the farms, people, and technology required to sustain and grow agriculture in Maryland, the number one commercial industry in the state.
Joanne Clendining, who has earned two Emmy® awards from the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for her work on Maryland Farm & Harvest, returns as host. She is joined by Al Spoler, who handles duties for each episode’s The Local Buy segment.
With introductions filmed at Hoober, Inc., a farm equipment dealer in New Windsor (Carroll County), the November 23 episode features the following segments:
Grain to Chicken Feed (Queen Anne’s County, Maryland and Sussex County, Delaware). Queen Anne’s farmer David Denny works hard to raise thousands of healthy chickens so that they reach growth milestones on schedule. This is important because poultry integrators such as Perdue require its chickens to be a specific size and weight in a set number of weeks. How can such a feat be accomplished so consistently in such a short period of time? It’s all due to the birds’ carefully planned diet, which is tailor-made to meet their nutritional needs. The process begins long before chickens arrive on the farm. Denny grows grains on his farm that in turn are used to create feed with the nutrient mix his chickens need to thrive. This segment includes a visit to the Perdue Agribusiness Feed Mill in Bridgeville, Delaware to see how its chicken feed is made.
How Grass-fed Milk is Different (Montgomery County). During this segment, viewers find out how grass-fed milk is produced at Rock Hill Orchard/Woodbourne Creamery in Mount Airy. Differences in omega-3 fatty acid production, beta carotene and fat content, and coloration are among the features of milk produced by grass-fed Guernsey Cows. Positive impacts can also be seen in both the cows and farmland as farmer John Frederick explains. He uses Managed Intensive Grazing to ensure the herd gets the nutrition it needs without harming the pasture. When applying this approach, the cow pasture is divided into sections and cows spend no more than 24 hours in each field so that each section is given ample time to recover and regrow. When traveling between pastures, cows pass through a robotic milking station before they enter newer grassy areas and continue grazing.
The Way it Works: Round Bales. Segment host Joe Ligo takes a look at a round baler and the steps it completes to create large bales of hay that can be stored and used as cow feed months later. Joe explains that hay is fed through the machine and into a series of belts and rollers, which form it into a bale. As the bale grows, the belts maintain pressure until it gets big enough to trigger a mechanism that wraps it in plastic netting. Once it’s complete, a door opens and the finished bale rolls out. These round bales can weigh up to 1,200 pounds.
The Local Buy: Dog Food/Treats (Harford County). Bel Air is home to My Canine Cucina, a local company that uses local farm produce and beef to make human-grade dog food and treats. The business is run by Barbara Shipley, who cooks and sells her natural and locally-produced dog food at the nearby Bel Air Farmers Market. It is at this same market that she purchases many of her ingredients, creating a direct support loop back into the community she serves. One especially important ingredient is the ground beef she buys from Hickory Chance Farm in Bel Air. Al meets with farmer Michele Magness Hill to learn about her cattle, before Al’s dog Archie conducts an important taste test.
Maryland Farm & Harvest airs on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. on MPT-HD and online at mpt.org/livestream. Encore broadcasts are available on MPT-HD Thursdays at 11 p.m. and Sundays at 6 a.m. Each episode also airs on MPT2/Create® on Fridays at 7:30 p.m.
More than 10 million viewers have tuned in to Maryland Farm & Harvest since its fall 2013 debut. The series has traveled to nearly 400 farms, fisheries, and other agriculture-related locations during its first eight 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, Rural Maryland Council, Maryland Agricultural Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO), a grant from the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, MidAtlantic Farm Credit, Cornell Douglas Foundation, Maryland Soybean Board, Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts, Wegmans Food Markets, Maryland Nursery, Landscape, and Greenhouse Association (MNLGA), the Maryland Seafood Marketing Fund, Maryland Farm Bureau, and The Campbell Foundation.
Other support comes from Mar-Del Watermelon Association and Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation (MAEF).
–Megan Guilfoyle, Maryland Department of Agriculture