Agriculture - Frequently Asked Questions
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GeneralHow do I get to the Division of Agriculture?
Click here for directions.
Am I considered a farmer?
Pursuant to RI General Law, Section 2-1-22, a farmer is defined as "an individual, partnership or corporation who operates a farm and has filed a 1040F U.S. Internal Revenue Form with the Internal Revenue Service, has a state farm tax number and has earned ten thousand dollars ($10,000) gross income on farm products in each of the preceding four (4) years.
How do I apply for a new farm tax exempt number?
Tax exempt certificates are issued by the RI Division of Taxation, Field Audit Section. You can contact the department at 401-574-8962 or download the application here.
Do I have to file an application to alter a wetland?
Rhode Island General Laws, Chapter 22-1-2 defines farming activities that are considered normal farming activities or insignificant alterations and therefore do not require you to file an application.
BOARDINGI am going out of town, where can I board my dog or cat?
Please see our List of Boarding Kennels in RI.
I want to open a Doggie Daycare. Do I need a License?
Yes. Doggie Daycare (also known as "Social Boarding") does require a Boarding Kennel License from Division of Agriculture Animal Health Section. It may also require a Kennel License and zoning approval through the municipality.
- In order to Board your pet, it must be currently vaccinated for Rabies.
- Most Boarding Kennels also require other vaccines for your pet. Check with them well in advance.
- Some Boarding Kennels can also accommodate birds or other small pets.
I want to adopt a new pet! Where should I go?
Most RI Municipalities have a Pound or Shelter with animals available for adoption. RI also has a number of Private Shelters with Facilities you can visit to look for a new pet. There are also many Rescues based outside of RI that are registered with our office and can adopt dogs.
- Check with Pound/Shelter/Rescue for adoption policies
- Sometimes their animals are available for viewing and sometimes they are still in another state.
- If coming from out of state, animal must have a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI aka "Health certificate").
- All Adopting Agencies must provide proof of current rabies vaccination if age eligible and animal must be spayed or neutered.
I run a Rescue, but am not in RI. Can I adopt dogs into RI?
Yes, but first you must register with our office.
How can I confirm if an out-of-state Rescue is registered in RI?
Check the list of registered rescues. If you do not see the Rescue you are looking for, call our office to see if they have registered.
- Rescues and Private Shelters must provide proof of Non-profit status(such as Federal 501 c (3) or Domestic Non profit in RI or state of origin).
- If Rescue is based outside of Rhode Island, they must also have a point of contact within RI that is responsibly for maintaining required records.
What Exotic pets need permits?
The definitions and list of required and exempted animals can be found in the Rules and Regulations.
How do I get a permit?
(Link to App)
Exotic pet tips:
- Application must be approved prior to acquisition on animals.
- Pet stores must permit any Exotics for sale or exhibit
- Application is no guarantee of approval.
Who do I call to report animal cruelty?
Report the abuse to the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) online or at 401-438-8150. You can also report the abuse to the Rhode Island Division of Agriculture - Animal Health Section at 401-222-2781.
How do I make a complaint against a pet store, kennel, municipal dog pound, or animal shelter?
The Division of Agriculture/Animal Health section investigates all written complaints. Click here for a list of concerns and information on who to contact.
I found a bat (or other rabies vector species). What do I do with it?
Call RI DEM's Law Enforcement Division at 401-222-3070.
An animal bit me. How do I find out if I need a rabies shot?
We cannot give you any health advice. You should contact your family practitioner, or doctor, and the Rhode Island Department of Health Disease Control at 401-222-2577.
I want to open a Boarding Kennel/Dog Daycare Facility.
Contact RI DEM's Division of Agriculture, Animal Health Section at 401-222-2781.
I am new to the area. Can you recommend a veterinarian to me?
Animal Health staff cannot provide veterinary care to your animals. We also cannot recommend one veterinarian over another. Please contact the Rhode Island Veterinary Medical Association online or at 401-751-0944 for a listing of veterinarians who may be able to help you.
Does Rhode Island require an entry permit prior to transporting my animal?
Currently, Rhode Island regulations require entry permits on Camelids, Cattle, Goats, Horses, Sheep, Swine and Poultry before they are transported into the State. Call 401-222-2781 for permits.
How do I obtain a Health Certificate or a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI)?
Only your veterinarian is authorized to complete and sign a Health Certificate or CVI. Your veterinarian must contact RI DEM's Division of Agriculture, Animal Health Section at 401-222-2781 for Small Animal, Equine & Large Animal Health Certificates. Equine Infectious Anemia forms are provided by USDA Veterinary Services.
I would like to bring a ferret home. How are they licensed?
The Division of Agriculture tracks sales of ferrets; Ferret licensing for private ownership is not handled by DoA, but instead falls under the jursdiction of DEM's Division of Fish & Wildlife. The direct extension for ferret licensing is (401) 789-0281.
I want to bring an animal/pet into Rhode Island. What do I need to do?
View the Rhode Island Rules and Regulations Governing the Importation of Animals or contact RI DEM Division of Agriculture/Animal Health Section at 401-222-2781 for specific species entry requirements.
I am leaving Rhode Island with my pet. What do I need to do?
RI Animal Health does not regulate exportation of animals to another state or country. Please contact the state of destination for their animal import requirements or visit the USDA State Regulations website.
How do I leave the United States with my animal?
Contact the USDA Veterinary Services at 508-363-2290. They are responsible for all foreign shipments of animals, including to Mexico and Canada. You may also visit the USDA import/export website.
How do I obtain information on raising farm animals?
Contact the University of Rhode Island's Cooperative Extension Office at 401-874-2900 and/or URI's College of Environment and Life Sciences' Sustainable Agriculture at 401-874-2917.
Does Rhode Island have an agricultural fair?
Yes! The Washington County Fair is held every August in Richmond, RI.
What are the requirements to import an animal into RI temporarily for show purposes?
Fair and Show Requirements (2016)
How can I help animals in the state in response to a disaster?
Please contact the Rhode Island Disaster Animal Response Team (RIDART).
How can I legally possess an exotic wild animal as a pet?
Exotic wild animals may only be possessed under a permit issued by the Division of Agriculture. Please see the regulations that govern issuance of a permit.
How can I legally possess a native wild animal as a pet?
Native wildlife can only be possessed under a permit issued by the Division of Fish and Wildlife. Please see the regulations that govern issuance of a permit.
What animal diseases are reportable to the State Veterinarian?
Reportable Animal Diseases
What are the laws pertaining to animals within the state?
Rhode Island General Laws -Animals and Animal Husbandry
Who do I call with concerns about wildlife?
The Division of Agriculture/Animal Health section does not have jurisdiction over issues involving wildlife. Please contact RI DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Are animal shelters required to be licensed in RI?
Yes, the state of RI requires pet shops, boarding kennels, animal shelters and pounds to be licensed. Click here to view the current license status of RI animal shelters and carriers.
Information on how to sell development rights can be found on the Division of Agriculture's Farmland Preservation Program page.
The application to apply for a wetlands permit can be found here: Wetlands Permit Application
These types of vegetables are not restricted for domestic shipment into the state of Rhode Island. If vegetables are entering the United States from an international origin, you would need to meet USDA International Requirements. The summary of requirements for shipping plant material into Rhode Island can be found on the National Plant Board's Website.
What is the value of Rhode Island farm sales of fresh fruits and vegetables sold directly from the farm?
The value of Rhode Island fresh fruits and vegetables sold directly from the farm to consumers (via farmers markets, roadside stands, etc.) is third in the nation at approximately $25,269 per farm* (Based on 249 direct-market locations statewide).
How many farms are there in the state?
There are currently 1,219 farms in the state that encompass over 68,000 acres of land, which is approximately 11% of the land in the state of Rhode Island.
What is the total value of Rhode Island Agriculture?
The total market value of Rhode Island Agriculture, measured in 2007 by USDA, is approximately $66,000,000 per year.* That amounts ranks Rhode Island in the top 10 in the nation for its value of production per acre and in net farm income per acre. The total market value of Rhode Island Agriculture as measured in 2012 by the Rhode Island Agriculture Economic Impact Survey, is $170.7 million dollars; it contributes 1,790 jobs to the Rhode Island Economy. Including indirect effects, the total economic impact of agriculture to the state is $268.2 million dollars and 2,330 jobs.
Any information on random things about the state?
The foundation for all horse breeding in the United States was established in Rhode Island as early as 1676 followed by the establishment of the American Poultry Industry in 1854, and the Rhode Island Greening Apple was the first named apple in America.
Rhode Island Farmers
24% of all Rhode Island farmers are women. The average age of all the farmers in the state is 56.3 and the average size of a farm in the state is 56 acres.
*2007 Census of Agriculture USDA- NASS
For information of mosquito-borne diseases go to the DEM Website and click on "Public Health Updates." Or you can go to the Health Website and click on "E" (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) or "W" (West Nile Virus) under "Health Topics."
click to view the Nursery Licensing, Inspection and Certification FAQ Sheet.
What license is needed to offer plants for sale in Rhode Island?
RI Nursery Law requires that, prior to offering Nursery Stock for sale in RI, either a Nursery Worker's License or a Nursery Stock Dealer's License must be obtained through the RI DEM Division of Agriculture. Links to Laws and Regulations can be found on the Plant Industry Unit's web page.
What plants are considered Nursery Stock?
"Nursery stock" means all hardy, deciduous and evergreen trees, shrubs, vines and other plants having a persistent woody stem, whether wild or cultivated, and plant parts, for and capable of propagation. For questions about specific plants, please contact Matt Green at the Division of Agriculture.
Should I apply for a Nursery Stock Dealer's License or a Nursery Worker's License?
"Nursery worker" means the person who owns, leases, manages, or is in charge of a "Nursery", which is any grounds or premises where nursery stock is propagated, grown, or cultivated, or from which nursery stock is collected for sale purposes. A "Dealer" is any person, not a grower or an original producer of nursery stock, and who is independent of the control of any nursery worker or other dealer, who sells, offers to sell, solicits orders for or otherwise traffics in nursery stock from a supply at hand or which is obtained from a nursery or another dealer. A Dealer's activity may include holding nursery stock by heeling-in, for purposes other than propagation or growth.
What are the fees and terms for a license to sell Nursery Stock in Rhode Island?
The Nursery Worker's License annual fee is $50; Nursery Stock Dealer's License annual fee is $50 per sales location. All licenses expire annually on March 31. In order to maintain a license, an application must be submitted with payment of fees annually prior to the March 31 date of expiration.
I would like to apply for a Nursery Worker's License. Is an inspection of my nursery required?
To obtain a Nursery Worker's License, your nursery stock will be inspected and certified. At least once each year during the growing season, all nurseries in the state of Rhode Island are inspected to ascertain whether they are infested with injurious plant pests. If the nursery and the nursery stock are apparently free from injurious plant pests, a nursery stock inspection certificate is issued.
Where can I get an application form for a Nursery Stock Dealer's License or a Nursery Worker's License, or request inspection of plants for phytosanitary certification?
Please contact Matt Green at the Division of Agriculture.
Which plants are prohibited or restricted in Rhode Island?
Plants in the genus Ribes, i.e. Currants, Gooseberries, Jostaberries, etc. The White Pine Blister Rust Control Act was enacted in Rhode Island to protect native white pines from white pine blister rust, which is transmitted by plants of the genus Ribes. According to this Act, a permit from DEM/Div. of Agriculture are required for import into or transport within the state ($50 permit fee) and planting ($50 permit fee) of Ribes species plants in Rhode Island. This Act prohibits the possession, transport, planting, propagation or sale of black currants (Ribes nigrum) and the planting of flowering currants (Ribes aureum and Ribes odoratum) in the state and limits the planting of other Ribes species such as red and white currants and gooseberries to designated low-hazard areas.
Additionally, movement into or within Rhode Island is prohibited for all Federal noxious weeds designated by USDA APHIS in 7CFR Part 360-Noxious Weed Regulations.
What are the requirements for movement of plant material to other states, territories or countries?
Inspection and certification provides the basis for compliance with laws and regulations governing the movement of plants domestically and internationally. Plant shipments that do not meet certification requirements of the destination state or country may be refused entry or require quarantine or treatment at their destination. DEM Division of Agriculture conducts Phytosanitary Inspection and Certification to assist Rhode Island exporters of plant material in complying with the phytosanitary requirements of other states and countries. Summaries of requirements for shipments of plant materials domestically to US states and territories can be found on the National Plant Board website: http://nationalplantboard.org/laws/index.html Summaries of requirements for shipments of plant materials internationally can be found on the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Phytosanitary Export Database (PExD).
How do state and federal quarantine restrictions affect the movement of plant materials?
States, territories and the federal government all may place quarantines restricting the movement of regulated articles of plant material for the purpose of preventing the spread of certain harmful plant pests outside of a regulated area, or into or through protected areas. Examples of quarantines for which nurseries must enter into a state/federal compliance agreement for interstate shipment of plant materials to destinations requiring certification are: Gypsy Moth (field-grown nursery stock); Black Stem Rust (Berberis, Mahoberberis, & Mahonia spp.); and Pine Shoot Beetle (Pinus spp.). The U.S. Domestic Japanese Beetle Harmonization Plan facilitates movement of plant materials and soil outside of the Japanese Beetle quarantine area. Movement of plant material into the state also is regulated to prevent entry of plant pests including Asian Longhorned Beetle, Emerald Ash Borer, and Phytophthora ramorum (Sudden Oak Death). Information on these and other plant pests and related regulated articles can be found on the USDA APHIS Plant Pest Program website. Other states� and territories� quarantine summaries are listed on The National Plant Board website.
In order for agricultural products to be represented as Organic in the US, they must have been produced and handled in accordance with the USDA National Organic Program Standards. RIDEM Division of Agriculture is an organic certification agency accredited by USDA NOP. How does a farm or handler become certified organic?
Please review the Organic Certification Program.
Anyone who applies pesticides for hire on other people's property needs to get a commercial pesticide applicator's license to apply general use (over the counter) pesticides. Farmers and farm workers who apply restricted use and state limited use pesticides to produce an agricultural commodity need to get a private applicator's certificate. Dealers who sell restricted use pesticides and state limited use pesticides to certified applicators need to get a pesticide dealer's license.
How do I get a commercial pesticide applicator's license?
To get a commercial pesticide applicator's license, one needs to attend the 12-hour pesticide Core training and to take and pass the pesticide core exam, which is given on the second day of the core training. The applicator must also provide an insurance certificate as proof of financial responsibility, have a letter of employment from their employer, and pay the $30.00 licensing fee.
I am a commercial pesticide applicator. How do I get commercial certification, in order to apply restricted use and state limited use, pesticides?
After one has taken and passed the Core exam, one needs to take and pass a Category exam, for each category that one wishes to get certification in. Some Categories have Category training, which is given by URI. The Category exam is given on the afternoon of the Category training day. If the category does not have Category training, one obtains the study manual from URI and makes an appointment with DEM Division of Agriculture to take the category exam on a testing date.
What are the commercial certification categories?
The commercial categories are listed in Section 2.16 of the Rules and Regulations Relating to Pesticides.
How do I get a private applicator's certificate?
To get a private applicator's certificate, one needs to attend the 12-hour pesticide Core training and to take and pass the pesticide core exam, which is given on the second day of the core training. In addition, the private applicator needs to take and pass a commodity exam, which is given at the same time as the pesticide Core exam. The private applicator then pays a $20.00 certification fee.
What are the Commodity exams?
The Commodity exams are exams given for the main commodity that a private applicator produces. The commodities available for exams are: fruit, greenhouse, livestock, nursery/Christmas tree, turf and vegetables. A private applicator takes a commodity exam based on their main commodity, although they may produce more than one commodity.
Do I have to take a Commodity exam for each commodity on which I wish to apply restricted use pesticides?
A private applicator is allowed to apply restricted use and state limited use, pesticides on each commodity that he or she produces, after he or she has taken one commodity exam and obtained a private applicator's certificate.
I am a farmer who only applies general use pesticides. Do I need to obtain a private applicator's certificate?
A private applicator does not need to obtain a private applicator's certificate, in order to apply general use pesticides to produce agricultural commodities on land that he or she owns or rents.
I have a business applying pesticides to farms, for hire. What type of license or certificate do I need?
If one applies general use pesticides to farms, for hire, one needs a commercial pesticide applicator's license. If one applies restricted use pesticides or state limited use to farms, for hire, one needs a commercial pesticide applicator's certification in category 1A: Agricultural Plant Pest Control or 1B: Agricultural Animal Pest Control.
How do I get a pesticide dealer's license?
To get a pesticide dealer's license, one needs to attend the 12-hour pesticide Core training and to take and pass the pesticide dealer's exam, which is given on the second day of the core training. The pesticide dealer then pays a $30.00 licensing fee.
I already took my test, how can I find out if I passed?
Go to the Pesticide Unit.
What are the recertification training requirements in order to maintain a pesticide license or certificate?
Private applicators need to take six (6) hours of recertification training every five years, in order to maintain their certification. Commercially certified applicators need to take eight (8) hours of recertification training every five years, per category, in order to maintain their certification. Commercially licensed applicators need to take eight (8) hours of recertification training every five years, in order to maintain their licenses.
Where can I get recertification training, in order to maintain my pesticide license or certificate?
You may attend any DEM approved recertification training. Some of it is given by URI. In addition, DEM approves other training in Rhode Island and around the country. In addition, you may attend recertification training given in the other New England states-Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, in order to obtain recertification- training credits.
What do I need to show to DEM Division of Agriculture, as proof of attendance at recertification training?
You must mail in a copy of the official recertification training attendance sheet. Some training uses a scanner system. That training (such as New England Grows) submits this information electronically to DEM Division of Agriculture.
Who needs insurance in order to maintain a pesticide license or certificate?
Commercial pesticide applicators need insurance in order to maintain a pesticide license or certificate.
What are the insurance requirements for commercial pesticide applicators?
The insurance requirements are given in section 2.21 of the Rules and Regulations Relating to Pesticides.
I work for a company as a commercially licensed or certified applicator. Do I need to take out my own insurance policy, in order to apply pesticides?
The insurance certificate from the employee's employer is all that is required of employees in order to obtain a pesticide license or certificate.
What are restricted use pesticides?
Any pesticide that is classified as "restricted use" by the US EPA.
What are the "state limited use" pesticides?
These are listed in section 2.5 of the Rules and Regulations Relating to Pesticides. Any pesticide, which contains acetochlor, alachlor, cyanazine, metolachlor, simazine or dacthal, is a "state limited use" pesticide.
How do I know when my recertification will expire?
The "last recertification" date, which is listed, is the start of your five-year period. Simply add 5 years to that date, in order to obtain your recertification expiration date.
I have a private applicator's certificate. When will it expire?
All private applicator's certificates expire every December 31st, of each calendar year. They are renewed annually. (Do not confuse this with recertification requirements).
I have a commercial pesticide applicator's certificate. When will it expire?
All commercial pesticide applicator's certificates expire every January 31st, of each calendar year. They are renewed annually. (Do not confuse this with recertification requirements.)
I have a commercial pesticide applicator's license. When will it expire?
All commercial pesticide applicator's certificates expire every February 28th (or February 29th, of leap years), of each calendar year. They are renewed annually. (Do not confuse this with recertification requirements.)
I missed the expiration date for my license or certificate. What do I need to do? Is there a penalty fee?
If you have not yet received a "failure to renew" letter, that is, you are still within a few months of the expiration date, simply send in your renewal immediately. Follow all normal procedures for renewal. There is no penalty fee with late renewals.
I missed the expiration date for my license or certificate. What do I need to do? I received a "failure to renew" letter.
If you missed the renewal date deadline (you received a "failure to renew" letter) and the deadline in that letter has passed, but it is still the same calendar year, you will become eligible to renew by retaking the pesticide core exam, plus any appropriate commodity or category exams. After you have retaken and passed that (those) exam(s), you will become eligible to renew your license or certificate.
I had a pesticide license or certificate a few years ago. How do I renew my license or certificate?
If it is longer than one year since you last renewed your license or certificate, you need to retrain in the pesticide Core training (plus any category training, if commercially certified) and take the pesticide Core exam (plus any category exams, if needed).