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Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Directory of Marketing Regulations, Licenses, Permits, Taxes, and Insurance: Virginia

Farm Business Management Update, February-March 2007

By Karen Mundy (, Rural Economic Analysis Program, Communications Specialist, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech


Many aspects of direct marketing are regulated.  What is regulated and who regulates it varies both within state and across states.  The following list may not be complete.  You need to ask questions of each agency as you work through their requirements to see if you also need to go to another agency for additional regulation, permitting, and licensing information.  One of the best sources in Virginia for additional help is the Virginia Small Business Development Centers.  You can download their guide at  To find the office nearest you, use


If you are doing business in other states as well as Virginia, check with the other states for any required permits, licenses, or taxes.  North Carolina, for example, requires LLCs and Corporations to register if they are doing business in N.C., even if they are headquartered in another state.  N.C. also requires sales tax be collected on applicable items sold in N.C., even if the business is headquartered in another state.

What’s regulated/licensed


Regulatory/Licensing Agency








Shellfish production and land-based aquaculture in tidal areas must comply with structure regulation.  These regulations are found at the Va. Marine Resources Commission website.

Land-based aquaculture  G&IF requires permits to Propagate and Sell, Hold and Sell, Hold and Sell—Fee Fishing Ponds


U.S. Corps of Engineers

USAED, Wilmington
P.O. Box 1890
Wilmington, NC 28402-1890
General Information
(910) 251-4625.


Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries

4010 West Broad St.

Richmond, VA 23230

(804) 367-1292

Va. Marine Resources Commission

Habitat Management

2600 Washington Ave.

Newport News, VA 23607 hmoverview.shtm

(757) 247-2200

Dept. Conservation & Recreation



Local Planning and Zoning Office





VDACS Virginia Pollinator

102 Governor St.
Richmond, VA 23219





Building codes/permits required to build or renovate structures






County Administration Office; Building permits

Business License/Peddlers License  (Type required depends on jurisdiction).  Must obtain within 75 days of starting the operation.  May be required by both county and town or by neither






County Administration Office:  Commissioner of Revenue, Planning and Zoning; Town Administration Office

Dairy  Regulations dealing with dairy products      

VDACS Food Safety & Security Office

102 Governor St.
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: 804-786-3520

Eggs  Labeling, handling, and grading.  If sold on-farm where produced, no grading or labeling required.  Inspection at discretions of Food Safety & Security Office      

VDACS Food Safety & Security Office
116 Reservoir Street
Harrisonburg, VA 22801
Phone: 540-434-2585

Export—regulations are commodity and country specific.  Check the USDA website for specifics and VDACS export specialists.  

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, Regulations and Policy

VDACS Regulatory Services Plant & Pest Services

102 Governor Street

Richmond, VA 23219

Phone:  804-786-

Facilities (including farmers’ markets and roadside stands)  building permits, parking, etc           County Administration Office: Planning and Zoning, Building permits
Food Safety & Prepared Foods  inspection of processing facility and high risk food processing school requirements      

VDACS Food Safety & Security Office

102 Governor Street

Richmond, VA 23219

Phone:  804-786-3520

  Local health department
Insurance:  Vehicle; Liability; Casualty (fire, flood [need to request], theft, inventory, etc.); Business interruption; Life and disability for owners and partners; Group health, Food liability      

State Corporation Commission Bureau of Insurance
Attn: Consumer Services
P.O. Box 1157
Richmond, Virginia 23218

800-552-7945 (Virginia only)



Local Insurance Agent

Local Farm Bureau Agent
Interstate—check with state in which you plan to do business for what their requirements are            
Legal entity filing  File documents related to legal entity other than sole proprietorship      

Va. State Corporation Commission

Document Control Center
Office of the Clerk - SCC
P.O. Box 2118
Richmond, Virginia 23218

(804) 371-9733

866-722-2551 (Virginia only)
Mail order other than seed and live plant sales  

Federal Trade Commission

600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.,

Washington, D.C. 20580


Meat Slaughter facility inspection, allowable sales at direct markets      

VDACS Meat & Poultry Services
102 Governor Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Nursery sales  Inspection of nursery plants for pests and weeds.  Required for all nurseries and garden centers  


USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service,

4700 River Road,

Riverdale, MD 20737


VDACS Plant & Pest Services
102 Governor Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Organic food/feed  certification requirements  


National Organic Program

Room 4008 – South Building

1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C.  20250-0020

Phone:  202-720-3252

VDACS Marketing Services Certified Organic
102 Governor Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Pet Food & Pet Treats  licensing and registration      

VDACS Product & Industry Standards

102 Governor Street

Richmond, VA 23219

Phone:  804-786-2476


Product Labeling

(format, weights, nutritional labeling, etc.)

VDACS Food Safety & Security Office

102 Governor Street

Richmond, VA  23219

Phone:  804-786-3520

Weights & Measures

Phone:  804-786-2476

Vendor’s License  required for some operations           Commissioner of Revenue, Dept. of Finance; Town/County Administrator

Virginia certified seed.

Certifies agricultural and vegetable seed and potato tubers.  Laboratory tests done by VDACS.

Virginia Crop Improvement Association

9142 Atlee Station Road

Mechanicsville, VA 23116

Office: 804-746-4884
WIC & Senior Nutrition Programs  WIC is overseen by the local health department and the Senior Nutrition Programs by the local agency on aging.  VDACS provides training, stamps, and posters for a limited number of local markets  

USDA Food and Nutrition Service

Richmond Field Office (637)

Food and Nutrition Service, USDA 
1606 Santa Rosa Road, Suite 129
Richmond, VA 23229
Phone: 804-287-1705
Fax: 804-287-1726

VDACS Direct Marketing Services
102 Governor Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Register with tax office for a variety of taxes  


go to “Starting a Business” for help with various taxes to be paid; select either “Farmer” or look at individual selections presented for “Starting a Business.”

Va. Dept. of Taxation
Office of Customer Services
Post Office Box 1115
Richmond, VA  23218-1115

Combined Registration Application Form (Form R-1)

(888) 268-2829 or (804) 367-8037
  Local Commissioner of Revenue
Corporate and franchise income tax required of all corporations and franchises      

Va. Dept. of Taxation Office of Customer Services
Post Office Box 1115
Richmond, VA  23218-1115

(804) 367-8037
Employer Income Tax Withholding required of all business with employees      

Va. Dept. of Taxation

Office of Customer Services
Post Office Box 1115
Richmond, VA  23218-1115

(804) 367-8037

Litter Tax:  retailers of food for humans or pets, groceries, sort drinks/carbonated water      

Va. Dept. of Taxation Office of Customer Services
Post Office Box 1115
Richmond, VA  23218-1115

(804) 367-8037

Miscellaneous assessments:  commodity and excise taxes:

Sheep, forest products, corn, cotton, eggs, soybeans, small grains vending machine sales, peanut, sort drinks

Va. Dept. of Taxation

Commodity and Excise Tax
Post Office Box 1115
Richmond, VA  23218-1115

OSHA: you must post OSHA information      

Virginia Department of Labor and Industry
Powers-Taylor Building

13 South 13th Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

(804) 786-2377

OSHA information to post

Retail Sales and Use Tax:  applies to use/consumer tax for any tangible personal property used, consumed, stored that was purchased outside Va. and would be subjected to sales tax if purchased within Va.      

Va. Dept. of Taxation Office of Customer Services
Post Office Box 1115
Richmond, VA  23218-1115

(804) 367-8037
Unemployment tax  you are required to post information about unemployment eligibility      

Va. Employment Commission

Poster for unemployment eligibility

Workers’ Compensation:  you must post workmen’s comp information  

Workforce Compliance & Oversight Information

Compilation of federal legislation, rules, regulations, and provisions impacting workforce compliance

Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission

1000 DMV Drive
Richmond, VA 23220

Phone: 1-877-664-2566

Workmen’s compensation information to post:


Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - (804) 786-2372  Licenses anyone involved in the production, marketing or distribution of agricultural or food products. Registers every pesticide manufactured, distributed, sold, offered for sale, used or offered for use in Virginia.

Department of Conservation and Recreation - (804) 786-1712  Regulates, manages and licenses state parks and outdoor recreational facilities. Issues permits for concessionaires in state parks. Approves and inspects floodwater structures.

Department of Environmental Quality - (804) 762-4570  Issues pollution control permits for any business that emits particles or gases into the air, water discharge, management of solid and hazardous waste materials.

Department of Forestry - (804) 977-6555  Licenses and regulates the use of state forests, forest reserves including mineral exploration; develops and administers forest management plans for state owned lands.

Department of Game and Inland Fisheries - (804) 367-1000  Regulates the taking, possession and sale of wild animals, birds and freshwater fish and endangered species of any form of wildlife. Licenses shooting preserves, fur farming and dealing, hunting dog trails, commercial trout rearing, fishing, seine hauling, breeding and raising game birds and animals, game bird and animal exhibits, and stuffing and mounting of birds and animals. Also titles and registers motorboats, licenses watercraft dealers, regattas and boat races, and drilling and dredging in the Back Bay area. 

Department of Health - (804) 786-3561  Licenses emergency medical agencies, vehicles and attendants, bedding and upholstery service businesses and commercial blood banks; inspects businesses to certify health standards; prescribes standards governing planting, taking and marketing of fish, crustaceans and shellfish; licenses hospitals, nursing homes and related institutions, home health agencies, hotels, summer camps, campgrounds and other lodging facilities, restaurants, milk processors, radiation materials, equipment and construction waterworks serving the public, water supply systems, sewage disposal systems, sewage treatment works, and migrant labor camps; regulates sanitation facilities at public gathering places, septic tanks, construction of private wells, and the production and use of toxic substances.


Marine Resources Commission - (757) 247-2200  Licenses the taking of various fish, shellfish and organisms below the fall line on tidal waters; licenses the exportation of oysters, purchasers of shellfish and the conversion of oysters shells to lime; assigns and leases oyster and clam planting grounds; designates certain public grounds closed and open areas; fixes and alters open seasons; restricts methods of taking; fixes minimum size and maximum size and maximum quantity of catch; makes other regulations for the conservation and promotion of the seafood industry; inspects records and vessels; prescribes guidelines for the use of wetlands; issues general permits for the use of state-owned underwater beds; and establishes bulkhead and private pier lines on or over waters under state jurisdiction.

Milk Commission - (804) 786-2013  Supervises, regulates and controls the production, transportation, processing, storage, distribution and sale of milk; licenses and audits distributors of milk; established prices paid to producers and prohibits sales of fluid milk products at less than cost; allocates marketing areas; establishes accounting system for distributors.

Potomac River Fisheries Commission - (804) 224-7148  Licenses and regulates the taking of seafood from the Potomac River; and licenses boats, vessels and equipment used to take seafood from the Potomac River.

Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission (formerly Industrial Commission of Virginia) - (804) 367-8600  Collects the taxes imposed to finance the Workers' Compensation Act from insurers and self-insured employers; adjudicates claims by workers and their dependents for death and disability awards arising from occupational diseases or injury.


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