Building Capacity in Agricultural Service Providers to Support Farmers in Regulations, Rules, and Legal Compliance

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2014: $44,322.00
Funds awarded in 2015: $44,103.00
Funds awarded in 2016: $45,436.00
Projected End Date: 10/31/2017
Grant Recipient: University of New Hampshire
Region: Northeast
State: New Hampshire
State Coordinator:
Seth Wilner
UNH Cooperative Extension


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: decision support system, extension, farmer to farmer, study circle, technical assistance, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: agritourism, business planning, community-supported agriculture, cooperatives, e-commerce, farm-to-institution, farm-to-restaurant, farmers' markets/farm stands, farm succession, feasibility study, labor/employment, land access, marketing management, risk management, value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: wetlands
  • Sustainable Communities: employment opportunities, food hubs

    Proposal abstract:

    Building Capacity in Agricultural Service Providers to Support Farmers in Regulations, Rules, and Legal Compliance, Year Three is the culmination of a grassroots driven idea conceived by New Hampshire and Vermont farmers in 2010. 

    Legal compliance is an ever increasing challenge to producers in NH, as well as nationally.  The exponential increase of federal, state and local rules and regulations challenges farmers of all production systems and commodities.   The ability for farms to be fined, shut down, or have “stop sales” orders rendered against them threatens farm sustainability.

    It is irrefutable that legal compliance is a barrier to sustainability for large numbers of farms. Legal compliance is not just a challenge for large farm businesses; in fact small and mid-sized producers have fewer resources than large producers and thus find compliance a greater burden.

    As producers face the daunting burden of legal compliance, they are turning to their agricultural service providers for assistance; yet surveys of NH agriculture service providers found that they not only lacked knowledge of the rules and regulations, they also did not feel comfortable providing education or advice.  Additionally, they often did not know where to turn for answers.

    This topic reached its zenith as the Food Safety Modernization Act became a stark reality for farmers in 2011.  It was thus no surprise that NH Farm Bureau and NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food strongly supported UNH Cooperative Extension in developing this SARE PDP Program in 2014.

    Together with these organizations, over $19,000 has been raised to compliment the SARE funds used in this project.  Additional pro-bono efforts have also been allocated to this program.

    Program participants include UNH Cooperative Extension, members of non-profit groups including ATTRA, Kearsarge Food Hub, Small and Beginning Farmers of NH, and Sustainability staff. 

    Performance targets from proposal:

    Seventeen agricultural service providers, who gain knowledge and skills in agricultural regulations related to their areas of expertise and focus, design and deliver educational programs and consultations to 150 farmers who manage 7,500 acres, including but not limited to workshops, webinars, presentations, fact sheets/other educational materials, and individual consultations.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.