ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Maryland Department of Agriculture does more than just work with farmers to ensure sound farmland management practices. It also promotes local agricultural and seafood products; ensures the wise use of fertilizers and pesticides; monitors the accuracy of weights and measures; controls mosquito populations; protects the health of Maryland plants and livestock; and so much more.
The department will highlight many of the services it provides to improve the quality of life in Maryland during the 138th Maryland State Fair, Aug. 22 to Sept. 2 at the State Fair Grounds in Timonium. The 12-day festival will feature thousands of home arts and agricultural exhibits, daily livestock and horse shows, a wide variety of midway rides and games, thoroughbred horse racing and national entertainment. The department will provide a variety of displays in the Cow Palace throughout the duration of the fair, including the following:
- Aug. 23 – 24: The Resource Conservation program will have a model dairy farm on display for kids to see what working on a dairy farm is really like and show the many ways our farmers are working to protect our natural resources. Activity books will also be available throughout the day.
- Aug. 25: The State Chemist program will show kids how to make slime and snow in the summer. State officials will be making slime from 10 a.m.-noon and 4-6 p.m.; and will make snow from 1-3 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.
- Aug. 26: The Maryland Agricultural Conflict Resolution Service will discuss their role in providing confidential assistance to resolve agriculture related disputes before they reach the courts, and why this is especially important in our rural communities.
- Aug. 27: The Spay and Neuter Grant Program will discuss how their program addresses the issue of overpopulation in pet shelters across the state and how Marylanders can help. They will also provide an “Agriculture Encounter for Kids” activity book and a coloring station all day.
- Aug. 28: The Mosquito Control program will talk about the department’s efforts in reducing mosquito populations around the state and how Marylanders can reduce potential mosquito breeding areas in their own backyards.
- Aug. 29: The Weights and Measures program — which ensures that consumers who buy anything by weight or quantity get what they pay for — will have a calibrated scale that can read guests’ exact weight. The department’s canine apiary inspectors — a.k.a. Mack and Clark the Bee Dogs — will also be greeting guests during the morning hours.
- Aug. 30: The Rural Maryland Council will share their vision of a prosperous Rural Maryland with thriving resources, vibrant economies and healthy, connected communities. Throughout the day, children can enjoy a coloring station and will be able to weigh themselves on a calibrated scale used by the department’s Weights and Measures program.
- Aug. 31: The State Chemist program will show kids how to make slime and snow in the summer. State officials will be making slime from 10 a.m.-noon and from 4-6 p.m.; and will make snow from 1-3 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.
- Sept. 1: Visitors will get an opportunity to learn all about the Maryland Department of Agriculture and its different programs. There will be activity books and coloring pages along with a “Farm Web” activity game. Guests are invited to leave a coloring page to be displayed throughout the day.
- Sept. 2: Maryland’s Best — the department’s program tasked with marketing the state’s agricultural and seafood products — will discuss the diversity of great products available from Maryland farmers, watermen and producers. Staff will also discuss the program’s many initiatives to build new markets for Maryland products throughout the region and internationally. The Maryland State Fair will also celebrate “Agriculture Day at the Fair” on Aug. 29. The day includes a luncheon and tour of the fairgrounds with Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartenfelder. The luncheon is invitation only.
For more Maryland State Fair information, visit www.marylandstatefair.com.
— Maryland Department of Agriculture