Diversifying your farm operation by adding farm pizza night or goat yoga can be a great move for your business, financially and otherwise. But, it can also mean the additional headache of having to deal with more regulations, and with those regulations come…You guessed it – regulators. Regulators help determine how local, state, and federal regulations apply to your farm specifically… whether you’re asking for permission or begging for forgiveness.

Whether adding food processing, launching an agritourism event, or applying for a zoning permit, farmers and ranchers are wise to build successful and positive relationships with the folks that apply the rules.

We have key resources that will help you build productive relationships with regulators, which can in turn increase success for your new farm venture. Read Communicating with Regulators Basics for a primer on regulatory process and strategies for communication, or for a deep dive into the subject read Farmers’ Guide to Working with Regulators. This guide will help you understand how regulators approach their own work, their legal obligations, and how you can partner to ensure success for all involved.

When diversifying involves adding non-farming activities, farmers and ranchers will want to research their zoning code to see what the code has to say about building a food processing facility or hosting weddings and other events. For guidance on (a) how to research your zoning code and (b) how to move forward concerning a zoning code challenge, read Strategies for Navigating Zoning Codes and Challenges. For an interactive learning experience on your own schedule, take our self-paced course Asking Important Questions About an Agricultural Parcel. This self-paced course helps producers identify the costs, responsibilities, and opportunities associated with a parcel of agricultural land. Doing due diligence by researching the activities that are allowed and disallowed on the land is especially important when diversifying into value-added good production and agritourism. This course will help you to do this research efficiently so that you can make informed decisions and investments.

If you’re producing and marketing botanical products such as teas, tinctures, syrups, oxymels, hydrosols, and  salves, there are different regulatory factors for you to manage including the regulatory of labeling and health claims. Read the Farmers’ Legal Guide to Botanical Products for guidance on how to come into and manage regulatory compliance.