A photo of Chesapeake Bay Farms Cheese

Value-Added Agriculture

Tailor Made for the LESMD Region

Value-added Agriculture may include not only the production and/or processing of agricultural products, but an associated educational and interactive component of the public – Agritourism. With increased consumer interest in the “farm to table” movement, Value-Added Agriculture and its related component Agritourism has become a viable option for farmers and processors in the LESMD Region to gain visibility and diversify their operations.

Number of jobs supported by Maryland’s Value-Added Agriculture (VAA) industry
The level of VAA economic activity, adds nearly $875 million to the State’s fiscal resources

Source: Value-Added Agriculture In Maryland: An Economic Analysis

Farmers' market stall.

Value-added Agriculture includes farms/agricultural producers, as well as processors and small food businesses. Products may be specifically segregated by identity or production characteristics, such as organic or locally-grown. Categories encompass nearly the entire range of food and beverage products. Further processing such as drying, cleaning, milling, pelletizing and operations associated with repackaging are also part of the value-added mix. At the same time, Agritourism activities such as retail sales, u-pick, corn mazes and farmers markets transforms a farm into a destination thus contributing to diversification of core operations by providing an element of marketing as well as income.

In the LESMD Region the relationship between Value-added Agriculture and Agritourism is evident in successful operations involving the production of locally branded beer and dairy products. With regard to the latter – 21st Century industry consolidation and changing farm demographics led to a precipitous drop in the number of dairy farms. The response was a diversification effort in which a local dairy incorporated the key elements associated with Value-Added Agriculture. The result is a highly visible, artisanal brand with which the consumer associates a natural process and a specific local farm.

Unrecognizable worker feeding cows on diary farm, agriculture industry.

Some of the LESMD Value-Added Agriculture Companies


See the economic analysis here