Wednesday September 17, 2014; 03:11 am EDT
Horses Count, Too
Maryland’s horses, ponies, mules, donkeys and burros are being counted in their very own census.
The Maryland Horse Industry Board has enlisted the United States Department of Agriculture to count Maryland’s equine population. More than 21,000 census forms were mailed in April to equine owners and stable operators across the state.
This is only the second count of Maryland’s horses. The first census was taken in 2002.
“The first equine census gave us an important baseline for measuring the size of our equine industry,” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “With the 2010 count, we will learn how the industry has changed, which can in turn help us determine what policy or economic development activities might be needed.”
The 2002 census zeroed in on the number of equine operations in Maryland. The head count identified needed policy changes. Among them, the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation’s eligibility list was expanded to include equine operations in the land preservation program. Outreach was ramped up to horse farms about good farm management in protecting the Chesapeake Bay.
Marylanders involved in equine activities are asked to return the census by June 1.
“Whether you own a single horse for your family’s recreational use or run a large breeding or training facility, we need your input,” said Jim Steele, the chairman of the Maryland Horse Industry Board and manager of Shamrock Farm in Woodbine.
The census is the only reliable measure of the size and economic impact of Maryland’s equine industry. If you’re involved in equine activities and don’t receive a questionnaire by May 1, request one at 800-675-0295.
Learn more at www.marylandhorseindustry.org/census.shtml