Legislation helps farmers operating roadside stands

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

Southern Farm Network logoThe General Assembly wrapped up its “short session” earlier this month. A few pieces of legislation adopted by the lawmakers were beneficial to farmers.

The Regulatory Reform Act of 2012 addressed a variety of regulatory issues. One of the things it did was exempt farm buildings from building rules if the building is located outside the jurisdiction of a city or town.

Commissioner Troxler says this will help farmers who operate produce stands that are not larger than 1,000 square feet in size and are acknowledged by the NCDA&CS as a Certified Roadside Farm Market.

The department heard several examples of farmers who could not make changes to their seasonal roadside stand because of Building Code requirements. This legislation does not exempt farmers from zoning regulations, but it will help them maintain their stands without having to jump through some costly hoops, Troxler says.

Another bill changed various transportation laws to allow farmers to safely transport larger amounts of crops, livestock and other agricultural products on light-traffic roads. In addition, the bill instructs the Department of Transportation to create a process where farmers can seek approval to operate equipment on certain kinds of highways.

In rural communities, changes in road designations have meant that some farmers had to drive their equipment farther to access fields they had previously driven to, and these situations were potentially dangerous. The legislation addresses this issue.

Click below to listen to the Commissioner and Rhonda discuss these bills and other legislation affecting agriculture.

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