Proper operating techniques are vital to running a successful agriculture enterprise. Unlike non-agriculture related businesses, there are various agricultural components to consider including land acquisition, grower’s permits, pesticide regulations, and so much more. Taking these industry specific elements into account is an important aspect to a thriving business.
|Land Use & Zoning|
When establishing a new agricultural business, it is important to fully understand the regulations that apply to your potential business location. The San Diego County Department of Planning & Development Services offer this type of information, all you need to provide is the parcel number and/or street address of the site you wish to develop.
Planning & Development Services can then provide information on approved usage of that land as well as possible restrictions. To schedule a Land Development or Code Compliance appointment, please visit https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/pds/LandDevelopment.html
|Land Tenure & Land Leasing|
It is important to closely examine which option best fits your needs: leasing land or buying land. Both options have benefits and limitations; however, the two most important aspects to consider when making this decision are affordability and ability to control the land. It is critical to the profitability of your business or enterprise that profit outweighs costs, such as monthly land payments. Second, it is important that the acquired land is suitable to your needs (i.e. landowner allows for the development of the land, zoning laws allow for the agricultural development of the land, ect.). For more information on this subject, please visit the San Diego County Department of General Services, Real Estate Services website.
|Nursery Permits & the Pest Exclusion/Nursery Program|
The San Diego County Department of Agriculture, Weights & Measures are responsible for issuing shipping permits, nursery stock certificates, and other required certificates to facilitate movement of nursery stock in trade. To obtain these certificates, please visit their site.
Pest Health & Pest Prevention
This is a mandatory program coordinated by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and administered by the San Diego County Department of Agriculture. The program assists the nurseryman with pest control and eradication; licenses the sale of nursery stock, and certifies certain plants by inspecting and testing them for certain diseases and pests. For more information on this program, please visit their website.
It is critical to develop a sound financial business plan before you embark on this venture. Doing this will make it easier to borrow funds and explore all the alternatives available to secure the funds needed to finance a business. The majority of existing growers in San Diego County finance their operations with private funds. Some examples of private funds are private banks, production credit associations, equipment dealers, suppliers, cooperatives, packers, shippers, grower associations, and insurance companies. For more information on securing funding for your business, please visit the Natural Resources Conservation Service website or the Farm Credit Services Southwest website.
As a new agricultural business operator or as the operator of an existing farm, you must determine whether you can supply all the labor needed to operate your business by yourself or if you will require assistance (i.e. employees or laborers). If you choose to hire employees to assist with your operation, you will need to determine the number and type of employees that will best suit your operation. The University of California Agricultural Labor Management website provides more information regarding labor management in the agriculture industry.
As an employer, you are required to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN). The State of California will refer to this 9-digit number as your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). To obtain an EIN, you must fill out the Federal Form SS-4. This number will need to be included on all tax items you send to Federal and State tax agencies. For further instruction, please visit the IRS website.
|Workers' Compensation Regulations & Benefits|
California State law requires all employers have a Workers’ Compensation Insurance policy to cover their employees in case of a work-related injury. Most commercial insurance agencies can provide Workers’ Compensation insurance. It is in your best interest to shop around for the policy that best suits the needs of your business. For more in-depth detail regarding Workers’ Compensation, please visit the United States Department of Labor website.
|Non-US Citizen Employment Status|
Federal Law requires employers to complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, when recruiting or hiring an individual for payment in the U.S. For Non-US citizens seeking work in the US, federal law requires the completion of Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. These forms are processed through the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services. For more information regarding Non-US Citizen Employment, please visit their site.
|General State/Federal Requirements|
If you choose to employ individuals at your business, there are many Federal and State obligations. These rules and regulations are outlined in the 2018 California Employer’s Guide, published by the State of California’s Employment Development Department.