University of Maryland Extension

Frequently Asked Questions

Farm Land Leasing and Custom Work

What is the current average rental rate for farm land in Harford County?

The most accurate and reliable information we have on farm land rental rates comes from the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the United States Department of Agriculture:

  • Harford County non-irrigated crop land, average for 2017 = $138.00/acre
  • Harford County non-irrigated crop land, average for 2016 = $120.00/acre
  • Harford County pasture land, average for 2017 = $55.50/acre
  • Harford County pasture land, average for 2016 = $28.00/acre

Click here for historical data, which includes rental rates for all counties in Maryland as well as a state average. Keep in mind that the values presented by this report are only averages; farm land rental in Harford County ranges from $0 per acre to more than $200 per acre, depending on the individual parcel and the arrangements made between owner and tenant.


How do I set up a farm land lease? What if I have a problem with my tenant/landlord?

Agricultural leases can take many forms and can be constructed to meet the needs of landlords and their tenants. For resources on lease writing and answers to some common questions about leasing issues, check out our Lease Agreements webpage.


What's the going rate for custom work?

Custom work charges are determined by demand and supply and are negotiated between farmers and custom operators. University of Maryland Extension conducts a biannual survey of producers in Maryland to determine average current rates to provide data that can assist producers in decision making. The prices reported are not official or established rates but an average of responses from the survey. Results are posted on UME's Grain Marketing website. (Rates for Pennsylvania are also available at the link.)


Pesticide and Nutrient Management Certifications 

My pesticide private applicator certification is expired. What do I do?

You have a 90 day grace period from the time your certification expires to attend a re-certification training session. If your certification expired last December 31, and it is not yet March 30, attend either the Harford County Midwinter Meeting in February, the March pesticide re-certification training at the Harford County Extension Office, or a re-certification training at another county Extension office. 

If your certification expired more than 90 days ago, you will need to re-take the exam administered by Maryland Department of Agriculture. The exam is offered at the Harford County Extension Office each March and October. 


I attended private applicator pesticide re-certification training, and I have not received my new card in the mail. What happened?

When you attend pesticide re-certification training, always be sure to sign in on the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) attendance sheet. After training, we send this attendance sheet to MDA. MDA will send re-certification paperwork to those recorded as present on the attendance sheet via snail mail. Keep in mind that this processing by MDA can take several weeks. Once you receive the paperwork in the mail, you must complete and mail it back along with your renewal fee. You should receive your private applicator card in the mail shortly after. If you attended training and did not receive paperwork in the mail, or if you mailed back your paperwork and fee and have not received your new card, contact our office and we will check on the status of your renewal.


Regulations and Permitted Uses

Can I have chickens on my property?

According to the Harford County Zoning Code, poultry may be kept on properties that are at least 2 acres. The 2 acre minimum applies regardless of zoning classification; even properties that are zoned agricultural must be at least 2 acres for poultry keeping to be permitted. There are no regulations pertaining to stocking density. Any number of birds may be kept, so long as the 2 acre requirement is satisfied. For more details about how the zoning code applies to your specific situation and property, call Harford County Planning and Zoning at 410-638-3103. Note that your property deed or neighborhood HOA may impose additional regulations.


I want to have host farm tours/service farm machinery/sell fire wood on my property. Am I allowed?

There are two sets of regulations governing the permitted uses of properties in: the zoning classification and code, and any applicable covenants (further restrictions apart from those set by the zoning code). 

First, you must determine how your property is zoned. You may use the Harford County Zoning Maps to find your property. Next, use the Permitted Uses by District document to determine if the use you are considering is allowed for your property based on its zoning classification. For assistance or for more specific questions, call Harford County Planning and Zoning at 410-638-3103.

To determine if any covenants on your property restrict uses permitted in the zoning code, you will need to reference your property deed. If you are unable to locate a copy of the deed, you can access it via the Online Archives of Maryland at (This service is free to use, but you must register for a password in order to access the electronic files.) 

I want to sell vegetables/meat/strawberry jam I produced on my farm. What licenses or permits do I need?

The type of licensing or permits required to sell food products varies widely depending on the type of product, type of processing, location of processing, and how and where the product will be sold. We are happy to help you navigate through the regulations - please give us a call! Be prepared to provide specific details about your planned business venture so we can help you.


Production Agriculture 

I want to grow hops to brew beer, or I'm interested in distilling. What resources do you have to help?

Interest inon-farm brewing and distilling has been growing in the past several years, and our specialists are working hard to create resources to meet this new need. There are some resources available on our Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center website. We hope to have a more comprehensive listing of resources available soon. In the meantime, you may want to explore resources offered by the Extension service in other states.


What's the best herbicide to control a specific weed in my pasture or crop field?

Check out our Pest Management Recommendations for Field Crops for a side by side comparison of which herbicides provide the best control for specific weeds plus more information to help you choose the best product for your needs.


I want to take a soil sample but I'm unfamiliar with the proceedure. How do I take a proper soil sample and where do I send it?

Follow the instructions on the soil sampling information card. Once you have your sample, send it to any of the approved labs found on this list.
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