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Agriculture, Farmland and Open Space Preservation

Agricultural Commissions | Agritourism | Farmland Preservation | Open Space

back to topAgricultural Commissions

  • RSA 673:4-b Agricultural Commissions
  • RSA 674:44-e Agricultural Commission
  • RSA 674:44-f Powers
  • RSA 674:44-g Appropriations Authorized
  • Agricultural Commission (see Chapter V of The Planning Board in New Hampshire - A Handbook for Local Officials)
  • See the results of the Municipal Land Use Regulation Annual Survey for municipalities with an Agricultural Commission.
  • What is an Agricultural Commission? New Hampshire Town and City, March/April, 2015
    The purpose of an agricultural commission is to protect agricultural lands, preserve rural character, provide a voice for farmers, and encourage agriculture-based businesses. For years, New Hampshire farmers have served as stewards of land and water resources, and provided habitat for native plants and animals. As New Hampshire communities grow and change, citizens are looking for ways to support local farms, and foster new ones.
  • Agriculture in New Hampshire, New Hampshire Town and City, March/April, 2015
    There are over 4,000 farms in New Hampshire. However, according to the 2012 New England Agricultural Statistics, fewer than 1,500 make $10,000 or more in annual revenue. As Bruce Crawford of the Boscawen Agricultural Commission puts it, it’s “hard work for little money.” That means a farmer’s work goes beyond the physical labor and the long hours: farmers must be creative and tireless to reach their customers.
  • Agricultural Commissions: Keeping Agriculture Viable in New Hampshire Communities, New Hampshire Town and City, June 2010
    How many farms are there in your community? Does your master plan include a chapter on, or any discussion of, agricultural resources? Is a farmer required to go through full site plan review to put up a seasonal farmstand? These are questions that a local agricultural commission can help to answer.

back to topAgritourism

back to topFarmland Preservation


Laws and Rules

  • Local Regulation of Agricultural and Horticultural Operations, New Hampshire Town and City, March/April, 2015
  • Laws and Rules - Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food
  • Senate Bill 519
    Establishing a committee to study the establishment of a farm viability program, Effective Date: April 5, 2004
  • Laws and Rules
    • The definitions of Farm, Agriculture and Farming - RSA 21:34-a
    • Agricultural Land Preservation Program - RSA 432:18
    • "Agricultural activities are a beneficial and worthwhile feature of the New Hampshire landscape and shall not be unreasonably limited by use of municipal planning and zoning powers or by the unreasonable interpretation of such powers." RSA 672:1,III-b
    • Chapter 674 Local Land Use Regulations and Regulatory Powers
      • "Every zoning ordinance shall be adopted in accordance with the requirements of RSA 674:18. Zoning ordinances shall be designed: . . .
        (i) To encourage the preservation of agricultural lands and buildings and the agricultural operations described in RSA 21:34-a supporting the agricultural lands and buildings; and . . .
        " [RSA 674:17, I]
      • The Agricultural Uses of Land subdivision of RSA 674, a.k.a. "The Right to Farm Law" [RSA 674:32-a to 32-c]
    • Administrative Rules - Acquisition of Agricultural Land Development Rights - Ag 700
  • Best Management Practices
    • State law on best management practices for manure management, RSA 431:33-35 applies regardless of local zoning. Generally, if someone does not have enough land to use the manure at agronomic rates, then only temporary storage is allowed and regular hauling and disposal is required.
    • There is a model Agricultural Incentive Zoning Ordinance that elevates agriculture as the preferred use in appropriate zones (residential uses not associated with agriculture require special use permits). The agricultural district would not be appropriate in more developed parts of town where a zoning ordinance might preclude agricultural uses. The model is part of the Innovative Land Use Planning Techniques: A Handbook for Sustainable Development by DES, OSI, LGC, and the regional planning agencies, with the input of the NH Farm Bureau.
    • Good neighbor guide for horse-keeping: manure management pdf file- UNH Cooperative Extension

back to topOpen Space

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NH Office of Strategic Initiatives