Taneytown dairy farm Locust-Ayr will be featured on Maryland Public Television’s “Maryland Farm & Harvest” show on Tuesday, Nov. 27.
The show, which will air at 7 p.m., will feature Locust-Ayr, as well as Ellerton View Farm in Myersville, in its segment focused on struggles in the dairy industry.
“A gallon of milk is iconic,” said the show’s producer Sarah Sampson last week. “And it’s made right here in Maryland.”
In its sixth season, “Maryland Farm & Harvest” takes viewers on journeys across the state, telling stories about the farms, people, and technology required to sustain and grow Maryland’s No. 1 industry: agriculture.
And agriculture, especially in the dairy world, is a volatile business, Sampson explained. Between the ebb and flow of milk costs, low demand and proliferation of the product, dairy farmers are struggling to stay afloat.
“Farmers in general have to be comfortable with risk,” Sampson said. “Commodity prices, the weather — but dairy farmers have to deal with milk prices that are very volatile. Farmers are producing a lot of milk, but milk demand goes down as people are looking for dairy alternatives.
“So many dairy farms had closed between September 2017 and May 2018,” she said. “In 1990 there were 1,400 dairy farms, and today there are less than 400.”
Sampson explores this through two Carroll and Frederick county family farms: Locust-Ayr, owned by the Haines family in Taneytown, and Ellerton View Farm, owned by the Grossnickle family in Myersville.
“Our show, overall, is really a very positive show to educate people,” she said, “but this is a tough topic. Every time a farm goes out of business, what happens to the land? They get tractors fixed, they’re going to town getting feed, taking their animals to the local veterinarians.”
In addition to the segment on dairy farmers, the upcoming episode will feature maple syrup from Allegany County, Michele’s Granola and Crooked Fence Farm in Baltimore County, Pure Chocolate by Jinji in Baltimore City, and a farmer conservationist in Harford County.