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County plans on letting more businesses into agriculture fold

County farmers and animal operators will get a county guarantee on new venture opportunities.
County farmers and animal operators will get a county guarantee on new venture opportunities.Adam Benjamin

New agriculture ventures have been helping increase agriculture production in San Diego county. The County Board of Supervisors is workin gon a plan to foster growth in small scale agriculture operations and agricultural tourism.

Supervisors voted last week to keep up with trends in the growing agriculture markets by designing a program to streamline premit requirements, and, lower operators' costs.

Two years work on the Agricultural Prootion Program will set up an update to old agriculture regualtions holding back growth in the "farm-to-table" and agricultural tourism markets. Localy grown produce sold at farmers markets, about a dozen in the county's outlying areas, increased the opportunities San Diegans have to eat healthy food. A goal of the county's LiveWell San DIego initiative.

The new agriculturall tourism businesses have opened up eyes to the value in San Diego's largely small farm agriculture.

A year roun growing season county farmers and animal raisers use to produce over 200 agricultur eproducts, including a veriety of fruits, makes agriculture start-ups a typical gainful Sa Diego venture. But, high land prices in the county's outlying areas keep plans to set up agriculture business a demanding venture to take up. So do water costs.

Challenges agriculture entrepreneurs experience meeting regulatory requirements are the challenges the county supervisors are planning to fix.

Currently, agriculture businesses that pack and process fresh produce, flowers, and feed can operate businesses only in specific zones. County staff will look into allowing the businesses in more zones. The county also might ease up old number limits on animal products at small-scale animal rasining businesses and aquaculture businesses that hold back production.

Roadside produce sales, a trendy choice for buying local healthy food, could show up in commercial areas.

Agriculture and animal operators who cook and can food products on-site have a shot at growing the agriculture business driving the San DIego region economy. Allowing limited production on-site is a possibility for the Agricultural Promotion Program. Nursery retail sellers face the simplest future venture opportunity. Selling without a discretionary permit.

THis is a Center Line Policy Alert.