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Laws and Regulations


Agritourism in California: Enhancing Your Farm's Potential

Agricultural tourism, known as Agritourism, offers a unique opportunity for farmers in California to diversify their income while providing enjoyable and educational experiences for visitors. Whether it's a farm stand, U-pick operation, farm stay, or a range of other activities, agritourism can be a valuable addition to your farming business.

At the UC Small Farm Program, we collaborate with county-based UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors to support agritourism operators. Our statewide directory and calendar of agritourism operations serve as valuable resources for both farmers and visitors. For more information, visit the UC SAREP Page on Agritourism.

However, before embarking on an agritourism venture, it's crucial to be aware of the regulatory considerations specific to California. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  1. Zoning: Ensure compliance with local regulations by consulting your county zoning department to confirm that your agritourism activities align with agricultural land use.

  2. Liability: Opening your farm to the public carries increased liability risks. Protect yourself by consulting with an attorney and your insurance provider to secure adequate coverage. Consider drafting a liability waiver for visitors.

  3. Labor Laws: If you plan to hire employees for your agritourism operation, it's essential to be familiar with relevant labor laws. Consult with an attorney or your state labor department to ensure compliance and avoid any legal issues.

By understanding these considerations and addressing them appropriately, you can make the most of your agritourism venture while safeguarding your farm and visitors.

Discover the potential of agritourism in Yolo, Solano, and Sacramento counties, and unlock new revenue streams for your farm.

Regulatory Resources for Agritourism in Yolo, Solano, and Sacramento Counties

As a farmer venturing into agritourism, it's essential to understand the regulatory side of this exciting endeavor. To assist you, we've compiled a list of valuable resources specific to Yolo, Solano, and Sacramento counties. These resources will provide you with the information you need to navigate the regulatory landscape and ensure compliance.

  1. UC Small Farm Program Agritourism Resources: The UC Small Farm Program offers a wealth of resources dedicated to the legal and regulatory aspects of agritourism operations. From informative webinars to publications, these resources provide guidance on key considerations for your agritourism venture.

  2. County Zoning Departments: To ensure compliance with local regulations, it's crucial to contact your local county zoning department. They can provide you with specific information regarding zoning requirements and restrictions for agritourism activities in your county.

  3. State Labor Departments: If you plan to hire employees for your agritourism operation, it's important to consult with your state labor department. They will guide you on labor laws and ensure that you are in compliance with all relevant regulations.

By utilizing these regulatory resources and seeking guidance from the appropriate authorities, farmers in Yolo, Solano, and Sacramento counties can confidently navigate the regulatory landscape and operate their agritourism businesses successfully.


Navigating Required Permits for California Farmers

As a farmer or crop producer in California, understanding the necessary permits for your business is crucial. To streamline the process, we recommend utilizing the CalGOLD business web portal, a valuable resource managed by the California Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development.

Here's how you can use CalGOLD to identify the permits you may need:

  1. Visit the CalGOLD Website: Access the CalGOLD business web portal by visiting [website link].

  2. Select Location and Business Type: Begin by selecting your location within California and specifying your business type, such as crop producer or farm business.

  3. Permit Search Results: CalGOLD will provide you with a comprehensive list of permits that may be required for your specific business. Take the time to review each permit's description carefully to determine if it applies to your operation.

  4. Fee Requirements: Keep in mind that some permits may entail associated fees imposed by the city, county, or state. Be prepared to allocate funds for any required fees.

  5. Employee Considerations: Pay close attention to permit requirements that specifically pertain to businesses with employees. Ensure that you adhere to all relevant regulations in this regard.

By utilizing the CalGOLD business web portal, you can easily identify the permits necessary for your crop production or farm business. Stay informed and compliant with the help of this valuable resource.


Every business that operates in the state of California is required to obtain a business license from the city that you operate out of, regardless of how small you are. Search the CalGOLD website for business license information by selecting your city and business type. Read the application carefully because in some counties, agricultural operations are exempted.

Fictitious Business Name (DBA)

In the state of California, it is mandatory to register a Fictitious Business Name (DBA) if certain conditions apply to your business. These conditions include:

  1. The business name does not include the surname of the individual owner(s) and each of the partners.
  2. The business name implies the existence of additional owners.
  3. The name of the business does not clearly reflect the nature of the business itself (source: California Business Portal: Register a Business).

To meet this requirement, you can access the necessary DBA registration forms through the respective county websites. Here are the specific forms for Yolo County, Sacramento County, and Solano County:

DBA Forms:


Understanding Liability Insurance for California Farmers

While there is no state law in California that mandates farmers or agricultural businesses to have liability insurance, it is crucial to recognize that many produce buyers require this type of coverage. Therefore, farmers are strongly encouraged to consult with their buyers to determine if liability insurance is necessary and the specific coverage amount required.

In general, it is advisable for farmers to obtain a minimum of $2 million in liability coverage, which applies to both their operations and products. This coverage helps safeguard farmers from potential financial losses resulting from accidents or incidents. Farmers in Yolo, Solano, and Sacramento counties, as well as other regions in California, can reach out to local insurance companies specializing in farms or agribusiness. These experts can provide quotes and guide farmers in selecting the most suitable liability insurance coverage for their unique needs.

By proactively securing adequate liability insurance, farmers can protect themselves and their businesses from unforeseen circumstances, meet the requirements of produce buyers, and ensure financial stability within their agricultural operations.

Sales and Use Permit (Seller's Permit)

Seller's Permit Requirement in California

If you plan to sell specific types of food and non-food items in California, such as flowers, salves, and soaps, you are required to obtain a Seller's Permit. The good news is that there is no fee involved in signing up for this permit.

To determine if your food products are exempt from this requirement, you can refer to page 4 of the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) Exemptions and Exclusions document.

Obtaining a Seller's Permit is a straightforward process. You can visit the California Tax Service Center website for the necessary forms and instructions to complete your application.

Remember, the Seller's Permit is essential for compliance when selling specific items, and it ensures that you can conduct your business operations smoothly within the state of California

To obtain a Seller's Permit go to the California Tax Service Center website.


Tax Considerations for Small-Scale Growers in California

Managing taxes can be complex for agricultural operations, and it is highly recommended to seek the assistance of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with expertise in farm taxes, especially during the initial year of operation.

Income Taxes to the IRS

  • When it comes to filing taxes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), different business entities, such as partnerships and sole proprietorship's, have specific forms that must be submitted.
  • Regardless of whether your agricultural operation generated a profit or loss, the IRS mandates that all businesses file income tax returns.
  • It's important to note that farmers enjoy a special exemption from quarterly estimated income tax payments. However, farmers must file their annual business taxes by March 1, which is earlier than the April 15 deadline for non-farmers. Failing to meet the March 1 deadline may result in penalties, such as late fees on unpaid estimated quarterly taxes.

Property Taxes to the County

  • If you own equipment, such as tractors, implements, fencing, or ATVs, you are generally required to pay property taxes to the county where the equipment is stored, regardless of land ownership. To understand the specific requirements and deadlines, it is advisable to contact the Treasurer/Tax Collector/County Clerk of your county.
  • Landowners are also responsible for property taxes on their agricultural land. While the payment deadlines may vary across counties, it is typically an annual payment. To obtain precise information, we recommend reaching out to the Treasurer/Tax Collector/County Clerk of your county.

Understanding and complying with tax obligations is crucial for small-scale growers in California. By seeking professional guidance and staying informed about IRS and county requirements, you can ensure accurate tax filing and avoid potential penalties.

Farmers Guide to Buisness Structure

Cottage Food Operation (CFO)

The California Homemade Food Act 

  1. California Homemade Food Act:

    • Enacted on January 1, 2013. Establishes regulations for Cottage Food operations (CFOs) in California. Allows individuals to produce and sell limited quantities of non-potentially hazardous foods from their home kitchens.
  2. Value-added Products for Farmers:

    • Farmers can use their home kitchen for making value-added products.
    • Gross annual sales limit for these items is up to $50,000.
  3. Examples of Approved Products:

    • Breads
    • Candy
    • Condiments
    • Dry goods (tea, herbs, dried fruit, dried vegetables)
    • Preserves
  4. Registering as a CFO:

    • Contact the Environmental Health Department of your county.
    • Obtain a food handler's permit.
    • Fulfill other requirements specific to your county's Cottage Food Program.
  5. Types of Permits:

    • Class A permits:
      • Allow for direct sales from CFO to consumers.
    • Class B permits:
      • Allow for sales from CFO to retail food facilities (e.g., markets, bakeries) and/or directly to consumers.
  6. Labeling and Packaging:

    • CFOs have specific labeling and packaging requirements.
    • Include ingredient lists, allergen labeling, net weight, and contact information on product labels.
  7. Additional Resources:

Remember to verify the details and requirements with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and your local county agencies responsible for regulating cottage food operations, as regulations may vary.

Direct Marketing


Essential Certifications for Selling at Farmer's Markets

As a small-scale grower in California, there are two important certifications you need to obtain in order to sell your produce at farmer's markets: the Certified Producer's Certificate and the Produce Scale Certification.

1) Certified Producer's Certificate

California requires a Certified Producer's Certificate for selling at farmer's markets. To obtain this certificate, follow these steps:

2) Produce Scale Certification

To ensure accurate weighing of your produce at direct-to-consumer sales points, such as farmer's markets, it is necessary to have your scales certified. Here are the specific requirements for each county:

Yolo County:

  • If you are operating in Yolo County, bring your scale to the Yolo County Agricultural Commissioner's office to register it for direct sales.
  • Scales must be registered annually, and the current cost for an annual registration is $20.
  • Address: Yolo County Ag Commissioner - 70 Cottonwood Street, Woodland, California 95695
  • Contact: (530) 666-8140

Sacramento County:

  • For scales used in direct sales, bring them to the Sacramento County Agricultural Commissioner's office for registration.
  • Scales must be registered annually, and the current cost for an annual registration is $16.
  • Ensure your scales have a CTEP or NTEP certification and undergo testing by the county weights and measures department before using them as commercial devices.
  • Sacramento County Weights and Measures will test and seal scales by appointment. Scales with a current year seal from Sacramento County can be used for selling in other counties.
  • Address: Sacramento County Ag Commissioner - 4137 Branch Center Rd, Sacramento, CA 95827
  • Contact: (916) 875-6603

Solano County:

  • To register your scale for direct sales in Solano County, visit the Solano County Agricultural Commissioner's office.
  • Scales must be registered annually, and if you sell for less than 8 months out of the year, the registration is free of charge.
  • Address: Solano County Ag Commissioner - 2543 Cordelia Rd, Fairfield, CA 94534
  • Contact: (707) 784-1310

Ensure compliance with the certification and registration processes to maintain transparency and meet legal requirements when selling at farmer's markets.

Please note that it's important to stay updated with the specific regulations and requirements of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the Agricultural Commissioner's Office in your county, and the Weights and Measures departments to ensure compliance.


We recommend visiting the UC Small Farms Program Farm Stand Regulations page for detailed information regarding farm stand regulations. If you're planning to set up a farm stand in California, it's essential to understand the regulations specific to your county. Here are some key questions to consider before contacting the county authorities:

Location and Permits:

  • Where on the farm is it permissible to build a farm stand?
  • Are there specific requirements or permits needed to construct a farm stand? If so, who should be contacted for obtaining the necessary permits?
  • Is a separate permit required to sell fruits and vegetables from the farm? If yes, where can this permit be obtained?

Zoning and Location:

  • What are the zoning regulations or restrictions that apply to establishing a farm stand in the county?
  • Are there any specific location requirements or considerations to keep in mind when setting up a farm stand?

Hours of Operation:

  • What are the approved hours of operation for a farm stand in the county? Are there any restrictions on certain days or seasons?

Product Restrictions and Labeling:

  • Are there any limitations or restrictions on the types of products that can be sold at a farm stand?
  • Are there specific labeling requirements for the products sold at the farm stand?

Health and Safety Regulations:

  • Are there any health and safety regulations or inspections that must be adhered to for operating a farm stand?
  • Are there guidelines regarding food handling, sanitation, or storage practices?

Signage and Advertising:

  • Are there any regulations or restrictions on signage and advertising for the farm stand? What are the permitted methods for promoting the farm stand?

Parking and Traffic:

  • Are there any specific parking or traffic requirements that need to be considered for a farm stand?
  • Are there restrictions on the number of vehicles or designated parking areas for customers?

Value-Added Products and Prepared Foods:

  • Are there permits or approvals required to sell value-added products or prepared foods at the farm stand?
  • What are the regulations surrounding the production, labeling, and sale of these value-added or processed items?

Additional Costs and Fees:

  • Besides the initial permits, are there any additional fees or costs associated with operating a farm stand in the county?
  • Are there annual renewal fees or assessments that need to be accounted for?

Resources and Workshops:

  • Are there any educational resources, workshops, or training programs available to assist farmers in understanding and complying with farm stand regulations in the county?
  • Where can additional guidance or support be sought to ensure compliance with regulations?

Other Permitted Sales:

  • Can fruits and vegetables from other farms be sold at the farm stand? If so, are there any specific requirements or documentation needed for these sales?
  • Can additional products such as dairy, eggs, or honey be sold alongside farm produce at the stand?

Scale and Certifications:

  • What type of scale is required for the farm stand, if applicable?
  • Is certification of the scale necessary, and are there any specific agencies or procedures involved in obtaining this certification?

Other Regulations and Permits:

  • Are there any other regulations or permits that farmers should be aware of regarding the operation of farm stands?
  • Are there specific guidelines for waste management, restroom facilities, or noise regulations that need to be considered?
Remember to provide specific details about your farm stand plans and location when speaking with the county officials to receive the most accurate and relevant information for your unique circumstances.

Information by County

Sacramento County 

Solano County 

Yolo County 

Other Counties/General Information:

  1. County Agricultural Commissioner's Office: Each county in California has an Agricultural Commissioner's Office responsible for enforcing agricultural laws and regulations. They can provide information on local requirements and permits for farm stands. You can find the contact information for your county's Agricultural Commissioner's Office by searching online or visiting the official website of your county government.

  2. County Planning Department or Zoning Department: The County Planning or Zoning Department can provide information on zoning regulations and land-use requirements related to establishing a farm stand. They can guide you on where farm stands are allowed and any specific location considerations.

  3. County Health Department or Environmental Health Department: Contact the County Health Department or Environmental Health Department to inquire about health and safety regulations, inspections, and permits needed for selling food products at a farm stand.

  4. Small Business Development Center (SBDC): The SBDC offers resources and assistance to small businesses, including farms and farm stands. They can provide guidance on compliance with regulations, business planning, and other relevant information. Visit the California SBDC website (https://www.californiasbdc.org/) to locate the nearest SBDC office to your location.



Keep in mind:

  1. CSA Registration: According to AB 224 (2013), both single-farm and multi-farm CSAs in California must be farm-based and register with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) annually.
  2. CDFA Registration Fee: CDFA sets a registration fee of $75 per year for each farm involved in the CSA. Each farm is responsible for paying this fee once a year.
  3. Approved Source: By registering with CDFA, the CSA is considered an "approved source" of food by the Environmental Health department. This compliance with registration is necessary because federal law requires all food in commerce to come from an approved source.
  4. California Farm Origin: All items included in the CSA box must originate from California farms. This requirement ensures that the CSA supports local agriculture and promotes the consumption of locally produced food.

CSA Boxes

CSA Box Labeling:

  • Put the name and address of your CSA prominently on the box.
  • Keep the box clean and prevent contamination of the produce.

Traceability Records:

  • Keep records of where each item in the CSA box comes from.
  • Make sure you can track the source of your produce.

Informing Consumers:

  • Let your customers know where each item in the box is from.
  • You can do this by including a printout or electronically sharing the information.

Labeling for Eggs and Processed Foods:

  • If you include shell eggs or processed foods, follow the labeling laws.
  • Ensure that the labeling on these items meets the specific requirements.

Multi-Farm CSA Handling License:

  • If your CSA involves multiple farms, you may need a produce handling license from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).
  • If you handle eggs from other farms, you may also need an egg handler license.

To register your CSA, visit the CDFA Certified Farmers' Markets page. Scroll down to the end of the page for the CSA Producer Registration and Remittance Form. The annual registration fee is $75. 


Please see the CalGOLD website and not the permits and requirements for "businesses with employees". A few examples include:

  1. IRS Application for Employer Identification Number (EIN):
  • Employers in the United States generally need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This is used for tax purposes and to identify the business entity.
  1. IRS Publication 51. Agricultural Employer's Tax Guide:
  • The IRS provides Publication 51, which is the Agricultural Employer's Tax Guide. This guide provides information on filing quarterly payroll taxes and covers the employer's percentage of tax withholdings specific to agricultural employers.
  1. CA Labor Commissioner's Office Wage and Hour laws:
  • The California Labor Commissioner's Office is responsible for enforcing labor laws in the state. They oversee wage and hour laws, including minimum wage, overtime, meal and rest breaks, and other employment-related regulations.
  1. Wage Orders:
  • California has Wage Orders that provide detailed information on wage and hour laws specific to different industries, including agricultural businesses. These orders outline requirements regarding minimum wage, working hours, and other employment conditions.
  1. CA Department of Industrial Relations Workers' Compensation:
  • The California Department of Industrial Relations oversees workers' compensation, which is a system that provides benefits to employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their work. Employers in California generally need to carry workers' compensation insurance or be self-insured.
  1. OSHA Injury and Illness Prevention Plan:
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets guidelines and regulations for workplace safety. Employers, including agricultural businesses, are required to have an Injury and Illness Prevention Plan (IIPP) in place to ensure a safe working environment.
  1. Employment Development Department Registration of a New Employer:
  • The California Employment Development Department (EDD) manages various employment-related programs, including unemployment insurance and payroll taxes.When you hire employees, you'll need to register as an employer with the Employment Development Department (EDD). This helps you stay compliant with payroll taxes and other employment-related programs.
  1. Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety:
  • The Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety provides resources and information related to the health and safety of farm employees. They offer online and in-person resources to support agricultural employers in maintaining a safe working environment.
  1. Required posters:
  • Employers in California are required to display certain posters in the workplace to inform employees about their rights and responsibilities. This may include posters related to OSHA, minimum wage, and anti-discrimination laws.
Food Safety

The following information is the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC): Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

Key components of FSMA: 

  • Farms that have an average annual value of produce sold during the previous three-year period of $25,000 or less are eligible for certain exemptions 

The [produce] rule does not apply to: 

  • Produce that is not a raw agricultural commodity (RAC).
    • A raw agricultural commodity is any food in its raw or natural state:
      • The following produce commodities that FDA has identified as rarely consumed raw: asparagus; black beans, great Northern beans, kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, and pinto beans; garden beets (roots and tops) and sugar beets; cashews; sour cherries; chickpeas; cocoa beans; coffee beans; collards; sweet corn; cranberries; dates, dill (seeds and weed); eggplants; figs; ginger; horseradish; hazelnuts;lentils, okra; peanuts; pecans; peppermint; potatoes; pumpkins; winter squash; sweet potatoes; and water chestnuts 
  • Food grains, including barley, dent-or flint-corn, sorghum, oats, rice, rye, wheat, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, and oilseeds (e.g. cotton seed, flax seed, rapeseed, soybean, and sunflower seed)
  • Produce that is used for personal or on-farm consumption 

Things to Consider:

  1. Produce Safety Rule: Establishes standards for safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables. Farmers must comply with requirements related to water quality, soil amendments, worker hygiene, and equipment sanitation.
  2. On-Farm Inspections: Increased inspections may occur to verify compliance with the Produce Safety Rule. Regulatory authorities may visit farms to assess practices and ensure adherence to food safety measures. (The FSMA inspector must provide prior notice to the farm or facility owner or operator regarding the upcoming inspection. The notice should include the purpose of the inspection, the applicable regulations, and the date and time of the inspection.)
  3. Record keeping: Keeping accurate records is crucial. Farmers must document activities such as water testing, soil amendments, and employee training to demonstrate compliance with the Produce Safety Rules.
  4. Qualified Individual: Farms need a designated "Qualified Individual" who has completed FDA-recognized training. This person oversees food safety practices and ensures compliance with FSMA requirements.

Inspections and documentation are required. Please see the CDFA produce Safety page for more information 

Is your farm required to be compliant under FSMA?

In order to determine what parts of FSMA you are required to comply to, start by working through one of the FSMA Flowcharts: 

FSMA Flowchart (source: National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition)

FSMA Flowchart (source: FDA via CCOF)

FSMA Fact Sheet (source: FDA via CCOF)

FSMA Exemptions

To check for further exemptions check the FDA FSMA Exemptions page (Source: FDA FSMA Final Rule of Produce Safety and NSAC's Qualified Exemptions and Modified Requirements (Produce Rule)


The following information is from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition: Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs).

"To provide a standard food safety audit system for producers, packers, and distributors, USDA and various inspection and standardization agencies developed the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Food Handling Practices (GHP) Audit Verification Program. The GAP and GHP program is a voluntary, user-fee funded independent audit program offered to the produce industry to verify that fresh fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled, and stored according to food safety practices that minimize the risks of microbial food safety hazards. The audits are based on recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and open up new markets for producer, packers, and distributors seeking to sell to schools, grocers, wholesalers, and others that require food safety certification. 

USDA and FDA are currently working on aligning the USDA GAPs program with the new FSMA requirements, so that GAP certification can provide farmers with the confidence that they are also in compliance with FSMA. As the go-to certification program for many small and mid-sized produce farmers, NSAC, is working to ensure that the USDA GAPs program, including the new Group GAP certification option, remains a relevant and viable option for family farmers". 


Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program: Nitrogen Use Reporting

All farm operations who irrigate are required to participate in the state mandated Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program. This program is regulated by the California Water Boards. This includes submitting a Nitrogen Budget. You can search "Irrigated Lands Program" for more information and the CA Water Boards website. More information can be found on the California Waterboards ILP Frequently Asked Questions

An organization that helps farmers with their nitrogen budget is the Coalition for Urban Rural Environmental Stewardship.

Because the Irrigated Lands Program is regulated by the California Water boards, the local managing agency varies across the state and the lines are drawn by water coalition and not by county. If you do not know who to call, start by calling the resource in your county. 

Yolo County: Yolo County Farm Bureau

Solano County: Solano/Dixon RCD Water Quality Coaltion 

Sacramento County: Amador RCD


ILRP guide

  1. Regulation of Meat and Meat Products: The sale and production of meat and meat products in California are regulated by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

    • CDFA-Inspected and USDA-Inspected Facilities: Slaughter and processing facilities can be either CDFA-inspected or USDA-inspected. The choice of inspection depends on various factors, such as the intended market, scale of operations, and specific requirements. CDFA-inspected facilities are generally focused on intrastate commerce within California, while USDA-inspected facilities are involved in interstate and international commerce.

  2. Meat Categories: Meat and meat products typically fall into two categories:

    a) Meat Inspected for Wholesale and Retail: This category includes meat that undergoes inspection and is intended for sale in wholesale or retail settings, such as restaurants, stores, or markets. These products must meet regulatory standards and undergo inspections to ensure food safety and quality.

    b) Personal Use Meat: This category refers to meat that is not intended for sale. It is consumed by the owner of the animal, the owner's family, non-paying guests, or employees. This type of meat is subject to different regulations and may not require the same level of inspection and oversight as meat intended for commercial sale.

For more information, contact: California Department of Food and Agriculture Animal Health and Food Safety Services: Meat, Poultry and Egg Safety Branch - 1220 N Street, Sacramento, California 95814 - Telephone: (916) 900-5004 - cdfa.mpes_feedback@cdfa.ca.gov


Anytime meat or a meat product is intended to be sold, the animal must be slaughtered in a USDA-inspected facility. Meat from livestock slaughtered in a CDFA-inspected facility or a non-inspected location, such as a ranch, cannot be sold and must be labeled "Not For Sale" when packaged. 


Meat intended to be sold must be processed in a USDA-inspected processing facility. One exception is that a CDFA-inspected facility can process a USDA-inspected carcass and then sell (retail only) the meat only from the same facility. Outside of this exception, all meat processed in CDFA-inspected facilities must be labeled "Not For Sale."

More detailed information on legal routes for livestock slaughter and processing, and a specific exception for poultry, can be found in the UC ANR publication Selling Meat and Meat Products 

guide livestock

livestock guide 1



You are required to have a private applicators certificate for applying pesticides and to file a pesticide report with the state even if you plan to use only organic pesticides.

  • Organic pesticides are regulated by the county the same way as conventional pesticides. Pesticide use reporting is conducted at the Agricultural Commissioner's office.

Yolo County: Regulatory information for Yolo County can be found on the Yolo County Permit and Licensing Information page. 

  • To get a permit, the property owner or business operator applies to the County Agricultural Commissioner. Please contact the Yolo County Agricultural Commissioner's office at (530) 666-8140, Monday through Friday from 7:00 tam to 4:00 pm to make an appointment for a Restricted Material permit. 

Sacramento County: Regulatory information fro Sacramento County can be found on the Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measurements Pesticide Enforcement page. You must contact the Ag Commission Office to make an appointment:

  • Agricultural Commission & Weights/Measures - 4137 Branch Center Road, Sacramento, CA 95627 - (916) 875-6603

Solano County: Regulatory information for Solano County can be found on the Solano County Pesticide Information page. 

  • Solano County Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measures - 2543 Cordelia Rd., Fairfield, CA 94533 - Phone: 707-784-1310 - Fax: 707-784-1330

For all other counties, you can search HERE


The following information on permits/license types is from the Yolo County Ag Commissioner's Office Permit and Licensing Information. 

Pesticide permits/licenses include: 

  1. Operator Identification Number (OIN) or also known as Operator/Grower ID (OID):
    • You need one to purchase pesticides.
    • An OIN is an "identification" number issued to growers and entered on their Pesticide Use Report. This number is issues specifically for management of pesticide use data to identify unique entity and to determine and calculate the actual percentage of crops treated. OINs are often referred to as a "Grower ID" 
  2. Private Applicator Certificate (PAC)
    • Required for individuals applying pesticides on their own agricultural operations.
    • A person who uses or supervises the use of a restricted use pesticide for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity on property owned, leased, or rented by that person or the employer
    • A householder who uses or supervises the use of a restricted use pesticide outside of confines of a residential dwelling or the purpose of controlling ornamental, plant or turf pests on residential property owned, leased, or rented by such householder.
    • The private applicator can be the operator of the property or the operator's authorized representative (with written authorization) or an employee of the operator of the property." 
  3. Restricted Materials Permit (RMP)
    • Necessary for purchasing and using restricted pesticides, which have specific handling and application requirements.
  4. Qualified Applicator Certificate (QAC)
    • Required for individuals applying pesticides as a service or business on properties owned by others. Different categories of QACs exist based on the type of application, such as agricultural, landscape maintenance, or structural pest control.
    • If you are a person who uses or supervises the use of federally restricted use pesticides or State restricted materials for any purpose or on any property other than that provided by the definition fo "private applicator", you must possess a valid qualified applicator certificate (QAC). 
    • This certificate is also required by anyone who is in the business of maintenance gardening and performs pest control that is incidental to such business. In this situation, the QAC holder would have to possess the Maintenance Gardener Category (Q) or the Landscape Maintenance Pest Control Category (B) on their certificate, and obtain a Maintenance Gardener Pest Control Business License."
  5. Qualified Applicator License (QAL)
    • The QAL is an advanced certification that allows for broader pesticide application authority. It is typically required for individuals who supervise pesticide applications on agricultural or pest control business operations. A QAL may be necessary when overseeing the work of other applicators or managing a pesticide application business.
    • You must possess a valid qualified applicator license (QAL) if you are a person who supervises the pesticide application (restricted use and/or general use) made by a licensed pest control business and are responsible for the safe and legal operation of the pest control business [Food and agriculture Code (FAC) sections 11701-11709]: Or

    • You use or supervise the use of federally restricted use pesticides or State restricted materials for any purpose or on any property other than that provided by the definition of "private applicator" [Title 3 California Code of Regulation (3CCR), section 6000.2(a)(b)(c)]."


CDFA requires that farmers filed a pesticide use report that documents each instance of pesticide application, including organic pesticides. You will need to register with the Department of Pesticide Regulation, and then file your use reports online at regular intervals. For more information, visit the California Department of Pesticide Regulation: Pesticide Use Reports page. 

Organic Certification

To become certified organic in California, you must:

1)Register with the CDFA:  

2) Become certified through an organic certifying agent: 

3) For all other counties:

  • Select a Certifying Agency: Choose a USDA-accredited certifying agency to work with. Certifying agencies are responsible for reviewing applications, conducting inspections, and issuing organic certification. In California, one of the widely recognized certifying agencies is the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF).

When certified though CCOF or YCOA, producers can use the USDA and/or CDFA certified organic label. 

  1. Transitional Period: For land with a history of non-organic pesticide use, a transitional period of three years is typically required to achieve organic status. During this period, organic farming practices must be followed, but the crops cannot be labeled or sold as certified organic. However, if the land has not been farmed or pesticides have not been registered with the Agricultural Commissioner's office, organic status can be achieved immediately upon successful completion of the application and inspection process. Call the agricultural commissioner's office to determine the pesticide use history of your property

  2. Exemptions for Small-Scale Producers: Farmers with gross sales of less than $5,000 annually may be exempt from organic certification. However, even if exempt, they still need to comply with organic practices. They cannot use the USDA organic logo or the term "certified organic" but can state that they follow organic practices. (Source: USDA National Organic Program: Exempt Producers)

  3. Organic Systems Plan (OSP): Organic certification requires the completion of an Organic Systems Plan (OSP), which outlines various aspects of the farm's operations, including inputs, field maps, crop plans, materials lists, soil management plans, pest management plans, harvest and post-harvest procedures, transportation plans, and record-keeping systems. The OSP needs to be submitted to the certifying agency for review.

  4. Traceability and Labeling: Organic systems have traceability and labeling requirements to ensure the integrity of organic products. Proper labeling and documentation are necessary to maintain compliance with organic regulations.Visit the CCOF : Develop Compliant Organic Labels page for more information 


For the most accurate and up-to-date information on organic certification in California, it is recommended to contact the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) or another certifying agency authorized by the National Organic Program (NOP). They can provide detailed guidance specific to your situation and help you navigate the certification process successfully.

organic cert process

Labeling and Packing
  1. Packaging and Labeling Requirements: When selling crops in packed boxes, labels are generally required. The specific requirements for labeling depend on where you choose to sell and the certifications you hold, such as cottage foods or organic. Grading and packing standards need to be followed.

  2. Wholesale Packing Standards: Wholesale packing involves considerations such as the size, color, and appearance of the crop, as well as the weight, count, and type of carton or box used. Prices are determined based on these standards, so it's important to include this information in your availability list. If you pack by weight, ensure that your scale is properly calibrated. Consult your buyer for their specific packing expectations.

  3. Vegetable Pack Requirements: Detailed instructions on vegetable pack requirements can be found in the resource "Wholesale Success: A Farmer's Guide to Food Safety, Selling, Postharvest Handling, and Packing Produce." This guide provides valuable information on how to meet industry standards for packaging vegetables.

  4. Organic Certification Labeling: If you are certified organic, additional labeling requirements specific to organic certification must be followed. Refer to the section on "Organic Certification" to ensure compliance with organic labeling regulations. 

It's important to consult the official resources provided by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and relevant certifying agencies for the most up-to-date information and specific guidelines tailored to your farming operations in California.

  1. Regulations for Raising and Selling Poultry: Farmers in California need to comply with federal, state, county, and local laws when raising and selling poultry. Small-scale producers often have exceptions or exemptions. While the state may provide exemptions to federal laws, counties and local jurisdictions have the authority to decide whether to allow those exemptions, particularly regarding slaughter. It is essential for poultry producers to check and understand regulations at all levels of government that apply to their operations.
    • Small-scale production for layers generally refers to a flock size of under 3,000 hens. This means that if a producer has fewer than 3,000 laying hens, they would typically fall under the category of a small-scale layer operation.
    • Similarly, for meat birds, small-scale production typically refers to processing less than 20,000 birds per year. If a producer processes fewer than 20,000 meat birds annually, they would typically be considered a small-scale meat bird operation.
    • These thresholds are commonly used in the industry to define small-scale operations and may qualify for exceptions or exemptions from certain regulations. However, it's important to note that specific exemptions and regulations may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the type of operation.
  2. CDFA Egg Safety and Quality Management Program: The CDFA Egg Safety and Quality Management Program provides information regarding the raising of laying hens and the sale and marketing of eggs. All individuals selling eggs, even if it's just one egg, in the state of California are required to register as egg handlers. CDFA conducts inspections at farmers markets to ensure producers are compliant with regulations.
  3. CDFA Meat, Poultry, and Egg Safety Branch: The CDFA Meat, Poultry, and Egg Safety Branch offers regulatory information specific to meat birds, including slaughter and selling requirements. Farmers can find relevant applications and forms on the CDFA Meat, Poultry, and Egg Safety Branch website. If a USDA-inspected facility is not used for slaughter, there are restrictions on where poultry can be sold. Some counties accept state exemptions from federal regulations, while others do not. It's important to stay informed about new bills and legislation that may affect poultry production and sales.

  4. Liability Insurance and Labeling Requirements: It is recommended that farmers involved in chicken processing obtain secondary liability insurance coverage of $1 million. This insurance helps protect against potential liabilities associated with poultry processing operations. Additionally, there are labeling requirements that must be followed, and Shell Egg Food Safety regulations apply to the sale of eggs.

For further questions or assistance, farmers can contact Morgan Doran, UCCE Livestock Advisor for Yolo, Solano, and Sacramento Counties. Morgan Doran can be reached at (530) 666-8738 or mpdoran@ucanr.edu.


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal food assistance program aimed at supporting individuals and families in need. In California, SNAP is known as CalFresh, and eligible recipients receive benefits through Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards. If you are a farmer and would like to accept EBT as a form of payment for your products, there are a few options available to you.

  1. EBT Machine: To directly process EBT transactions, you can obtain an EBT machine. In California, farmers may be eligible to receive a free EBT machine through the California Department of Social Services (CA DSS). For more information and to inquire about eligibility, you can visit the California EBT Project page. Additionally, you can contact Dianne Padilla-Bates at dianne.padilla-bates@dss.ca.gov or reach out to the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) at (831) 761-8507.

  2. Farmers Markets: Many farmers markets facilitate EBT sales by selling vouchers or tokens to EBT customers. This allows you to accept EBT payments at farmers markets without needing your own EBT machine. Participating in farmers markets can expand your customer base and provide access to individuals utilizing CalFresh benefits.

  3. Additional Providers: You can explore other EBT machine providers beyond the CA DSS program. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service website (www.fns.usda.gov) provides a list of alternative providers that can assist you in obtaining an EBT machine.

It's important to note that accepting EBT as a form of payment may require some administrative steps and compliance with regulations. Familiarize yourself with the specific rules and guidelines for accepting EBT payments in California, as they can vary based on your location and the type of products you sell.

Remember to stay updated with the latest guidelines and requirements from the California Department of Social Services and other relevant agencies to ensure compliance with EBT regulations and best serve your customers.