Farm Secondary Business

Farmers often find it necessary to supplement their farm income with other sources of revenue. Many municipalities permit farmers to conduct secondary or supplemental accessory businesses on portions of their farms to provide additional income. Supplemental farm businesses, also known as secondary or accessory farm businesses, can take many forms, but most municipalities require that they relate to the agricultural nature of the area. Such businesses can include horse boarding stables, riding schools, farm equipment repair, welding, machine or woodworking shops, processing of farm products or even agricultural-oriented entertainment. The size and area of these supplemental businesses are controlled through zoning regulations to prevent them from growing so large that the integrity of the farm and the character of the rural community are compromised. The primary goal of permitting supplemental farm businesses is to encourage the preservation of a farm by expanding its income-generating potential, while removing some of the economic difficulties that may otherwise result in the subdivision of the farm into non-agricultural uses.


Supplemental farm business provisions in a municipal zoning ordinance can provide the following benefits:


The following limitations may be associated with supplemental farm business provisions:


Farm Secondary BusinessA municipality must establish the foundation for supplemental farm business regulations:


Municipalities that have addressed supplemental farm business regulations include the following:

Related References

Section 603.(g)(1) of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC) requires that zoning ordinances shall protect prime agricultural land, and Section 603.(h) requires that zoning ordinances shall encourage the continuity, development and viability of agricultural operations. These requirements can be attained through farm related farm businesses.

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