The mission of the Agriculture and Food Systems Extension (AgFS) Program is to conduct applied research and provide research-based educational programming to increase producer profitability while conserving resources by using cutting-edge technologies and practices.
The AgFS Program will be an aggressive leader in agriculture and food systems applied research and research-based educational programming that strengthens Maryland agriculture and producer profitability.
The University of Maryland Extension (UME) AgFS Program serves the leading private industry in the state. In 2017, the market value of Maryland crops and livestock sold exceeded $2.4 billion and contributed $8.25 billion to the Maryland economy.1,2 The AgFS Team conducts applied research and provides educational programs for production and marketing of grains, oilseeds, horticulture, floriculture, poultry, dairy and beef cattle, sheep and goats, equine, and other livestock, helping producers adopt new technologies and practices to improve profitability. For example, Maryland agriculture has worked to conserve resources and improve water quality through new management practices such as cover crops and nutrient management planning.
The AgFS Program has educators across Maryland who provide research-based programming to thousands of producers and consumers in rural, suburban, and urban communities. These Extension educators develop and teach programs supported by a network of 37 AgFS fellow educators in the field as well as 30 UME AgFS specialists on the University of Maryland campus. This enables an educator with local producer relationships to bring a wide variety of programming to their county, such as expertise in agricultural engineering, animal science, entomology, farm and business management, marketing, plant pathology, and fruit, vegetable, and ornamental horticultural production. The AgFS Program collaborates with Maryland agricultural, natural resource, and rural and urban organizations to provide educational programming and engage producers in applied research work.
A UME Statewide Extension Advisory Council provides feedback on Maryland clientele needs, serving as the basis for determining the priorities of Extension programming. Six AgFS stakeholders serve on the council, providing perspective from agricultural sectors important to Maryland.