The New Hampshire Coalition for Sustaining Agriculture is pleased to present the Local Regulation of Agriculture Toolkit, developed with grant funds provided by Farm Credit East Northeast AgEnhancement.
They have created the Toolkit for farmers and municipal decision makers to guide development of local farm friendly regulatory environments in which agricultural enterprises can operate successfully, and the traditions of New Hampshire’s working landscape of farms and forests can continue.
The Toolkit includes:
- a checklist for assessing the farm friendliness of local regulations and policies;
- a flowchart of state laws governing farming and agricultural activities;
- a glossary of terms, and discussion on the relationship between state laws and town laws;
- a resource list of agencies, organizations, and publications for farmers and municipalities to address conflicts and pro-actively develop farm-friendly regulatory environments.
Farms are thriving and expanding across New Hampshire in new and exciting ways as farmers capitalize on consumer interest in fresh, locally grown and produced food. Farm stands, community gardens, community-supported agriculture, and summer and winter farmers’ markets provide access to New Hampshire grown agricultural products year round, creating opportunities for farmers to build their businesses. To support this economic development, municipalities can do more to ensure farms are successful.
Agricultural land use is often overlooked in local plans and regulations, with emphasis given to residential and commercial activity, transportation networks, and recreation. As a result, farmers can be hindered by uncertainty regarding how state and local regulations are applied to their operations. Municipal plans, regulations and policies that are flexible and clearly promote and support farming can help ensure New Hampshire’s traditional working landscape of farms and forests can continue to work in the future.
This checklist, originally developed by the New Hampshire Coalition for Sustaining Agriculture in 2001, has been updated to reflect municipal interest in creating economically and environmentally sustainable and resilient communities that recognize the importance of a local and regional food supply, as well as the recognition by local officials that agricultural land in all of our communities provides more than food and forest products and rural character that supports tourism, but also jobs, greater food security, water supply protection, flood storage, and wildlife habitat.