Verification of Commercial Agriculture


The Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures provides verification of agriculture as part of the farmworker housing permit process. The Department of Planning and Development Services issues the permit for farmworker housing.

Process Overview

According to the County Zoning Ordinance, a farm employee is defined as:

Any person who derives more than half of their total livelihood in the service of another person as an employee engaged in farming in any of its branches, including: cultivation and tilling of the soil, dairying, the production, cultivation, growing and harvesting of any agricultural or horticultural commodities, raising of livestock, bees, fur-bearing animals, or poultry, preparation of farm products for market, delivery to storage or to market or to carriers for transportation to market.

"Farm Employee" does not include the owner or lessee of a particular property or a person engaged in construction, alteration, painting, or repair of a structure, logging, and land surveying.

"Farm Employee" may include a person engaged in brush or timber clearing, land grading, or leveling when such activity is being carried out in preparation for farming.

For more information:
Farmworker Housing FAQs
Email the Inspector


Establishing Farm Worker Housing involves several County departments. The Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures provides verification of agricultural operation. The Department of Planning and Development Services provides the building permit. The Department of Housing and Community Development provides the housing agreement (if fee waiver is requested). Any associated permits or approvals that might normally be required for the construction of a dwelling or placement of a single-family dwelling or mobile home (i.e., grading, drainage, fire, water, etc.).

Department of Environmental Health (5500 Overland Ave., San Diego)
Contact Environmental Health at (858) 565-5173 to discuss proposed method of sewage disposal. If the project will not be connected to sewer, a subsurface system may be required.

Department of Housing and Community Development (3989 Ruffin Rd., San Diego)
Note: This step applies only when requesting your permit under the Farmworker Housing Fee Waiver Program. Contact Housing at (858) 694-8709 for information concerning the contractual agreement. An appointment may be necessary. A signed copy of the agreement is necessary in order to be eligible for a waiver of the fees when filing your building permit.


Download a Farmworker Housing information packet with application procedures here.

Complete a Verification of Commercial Agriculture Application form. This completed and signed form must be submitted with your application package to the other departments.

NOTE: If you plan to come into the San Diego office to discuss your application, you must make an appointment by calling the inspector at (858) 694-8980.

You will need to submit the following information with your application:

¤ Applicant name
¤ Mailing address
¤ Agricultural operation address
¤ Phone number
¤ Agricultural commodity produced
¤ Proof that you have a farming operation sufficient to provide more than 50% employment: There are several ways to provide documentation of the agricultural operation. Types of acceptable document may include:

√ A valid Operator Identification Number with Site Identification Number.
√ Current registration number for organic farming.
√ Receipts for purchases or sales that indicate farming. Examples include: purchases at agricultural supply houses for such things as farm equipment, seed, fertilizer; veterinarian bills, or purchases of breeding stock; purchases of nursery stock, etc.
√ Tax records that indicate farming.
√ Other documentation of farming.

Send completed application and $159.00 application fee to:

Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures
Attn: Verification of Agriculture
9325 Hazard Way, Suite 100
San Diego, CA 92123

This fee is not refundable if it is determined that your agricultural business does not qualify.

A visit to the farming operation may be required if adequate documentation is not provided. The fee for the site visit is $112 per hour and includes travel time from the San Diego office.

Once you receive your Verification of Agriculture, take it to the Department of Planning and Land Use.


The following are fees charged by the Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures for Verification of Agriculture component of the Farm Worker Housing permit process. The Department of Planning and Development Services and other departments will assess their own fees for other components of the Farm Worker Housing process.

$159.00 Application Fee: This should accompany the initial Application for Verification of Agriculture. The Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures must receive this fee in order to process your application.

$112.00/hour Site Visit Fee: This fee is only assessed if a visit to your operation is required. Travel time to and from the site will be included in the assessment. If sufficient documentation is provided with the application, a site visit will not be necessary.