Vermont farms are increasingly opening their doors to the public. This agritourism connects people with where their food comes from and grows appreciation for the working landscape. This increases economic opportunity for farm businesses in rural areas where farmers can direct-market their own agricultural products — and those from neighboring farms — to consumers. These business relationships are both common and necessary to sustain working farms. They are generally co-located with existing farm infrastructure, and may often utilitze existing or historic buildings. These arrangements provide farmers with the flexibility to share their farming knowledge, while not disrupting farm operations. The passage of Act 143 allows operators to welcome the public to their farms, to diversify operations and revenue streams, and increase their ability to market agricultural products and experiences.

This webpage describes accessory on-farm businesses to help you determine if your agritourism activity will fall under the regulations of Act 143.

Act 143 regulates on-farm accessory businesses. If your business features or sells these products or any other qualifying products, it may be necessary to submit an application to your municipality for a site plan review.

Qualifying products are:

  • An agricultural, horticultural, viticultural, or dairy commodity, or maple syrup
  • Livestock or cultured fish or a product thereof
  • A product of poultry, bees, an orchard, or fiber crops
  • A commodity otherwise grown or raised on a farm
  • A product manufactured on one or more farms from commodities wholly grown or raised on one or more farms

Different municipalities may have different rules, although they cannot prohibit an accessory on-farm business.

Based on the regulations of your municipality, It may be necessary for you to submit a site plan review. This process begins with an application to the municipality in which the event or business will take place or be established in. At a hearing, you may have to state your case for wanting the event or business. Within 45 days, you will be given a decision from the regulatory body.

For help and questions contact the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets: (802) 828-2430.