Industry sector:

Organic farm: Licences

What action do I need to take?

Depending on the nature of your farm, you should be aware of the following:

  • if you have more than four adult sheep and are intending to sell the wool, you must be registered with and sell your wool to the British Wool Marketing Board (unless you keep rare breeds that are exempt from this requirement)
  • if you produce milk, under the Food Hygiene Regulations you must be registered in England and Wales by the Food Standards Agency and licensed in Scotland by local environmental health departments and in Northern Ireland by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
  • if you have a sizeable poultry operation, you will be required by the Poultry Breeding Flocks and Hatcheries Order to be registered by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland or the Scottish Government Rural Affairs and Environment Department. This applies to holdings with breeding flocks of 250 or more birds, or hatcheries with incubator capacity of 1,000 or more eggs. In addition, under the Registration of Establishments (Laying Hens) Regulations 2003, you must also register if you have a laying flock of over 350 birds
  • all poultry premises with 50 or more birds must, under the Avian Influenza Regulations 2005, be registered with the Animal & Plant Health Agency. This is in addition to any other registration requirements that may also apply to the flock. If you have less than 50 birds, you are encouraged to register on a voluntary basis
  • if you grow three hectares or more of potatoes per year you must register with AHDB Potatoes (previously the Potato Council) and pay an annual levy (England, Scotland and Wales only)
  • under the Firearms Act (as amended), you must hold a firearms certificate or a shotgun certificate if you have a rifle or shotgun. Certificates are issued by the police, and the chief officer for the area should be contacted for details

Food preparation

If your business will prepare, store and sell food to the public you will need to register with your local environmental health department. They will inspect your premises and help you to comply with the requirements of the Food Safety Act. You should contact your local authority early on in your planning so that you register in good time. There is no charge for registering.