As of 2013, the most viable cash crops in Maryland include corn, soybeans, wheat, hay, barley, melons, potatoes, sweet corn, apples, peaches and beans. More than 2 million acres in Maryland are used for agricultural activities, and there are 12,400 farms with an average acreage of 165 per farm. Corn is the largest cash crop in the state, with a total value of nearly $312 million.
Corn is responsible for 475,000 harvested acres throughout the state. The second-largest cash crop, soybeans, accounts for more than $229.7 million in production and 475,000 harvested acres. Wheat is third with more than $119.3 million, and hay is fourth with $108 million in overall production. The fifth most popular cash crop in Maryland is barley, with more than $18.3 million in production revenue.
Approximately 350,000 people are employed in the agriculture industry in Maryland. Nearly 32 percent land usage in the state revolves around agriculture, the most of any other industry statewide. A majority of this land is located in the north central part of Maryland and the upper Eastern Shore.
The organization NORML argues that marijuana is the fifth-largest cash crop in Maryland, with an annual production value of more than $37.6 million. Tobacco ceased being a huge cash crop in the state in 2007 after a five-year program to buy out tobacco growers. The point of the program was to encourage farmers to grow other cash crops on their land.