This website has been developed by the Drake Agricultural Law Center with the following purposes in mind:

  • To make “The Legal Guide for Direct Farm Marketing” more accessible,
  • To create an extensive checklist to help ensure essential legal issues are addressed,
  • To provide regular updates on direct farm marketing law and policy, and
  • To allow readers to ask questions directly to Center staff and law students.


Important Note:

The information provided is for educational use only.  It is not intended as legal advice on any particular situation.

Users should seek advice on legal issues from an attorney licensed to practice law in their individual state.


Direct Farm Marketer’s Toolbox

The Legal Guide

“The Legal Guide for Direct Farm Marketing”

Written by Professor Neil Hamilton, the guide was first published in 1999. The Drake Agricultural Law Center has updated the Legal Guide and created this website to address the growing and ever-changing business of direct farm marketing. Twelve chapters address the different forms of direct marketing as well as business organization, contracts, labeling, insurance and liability, food safety, licensing, inspections, and a great deal more.

The online version available on this website contains all the information available in the original book along with additional tools such as embedded videos, an interactive checklist, and links to additional resources and contacts. This resource is best used when bookmarked so you can return to it with questions or use it as you complete the Legal Guide for Direct Marketing Checklist.


 Direct Farm Marketing Checklist

This checklist is provided to help ensure farmers pursue a comprehensive approach for their direct marketing enterprise.

The checklist should be downloaded, saved, and viewed with Adobe Reader and an internet connection. This will allow you to enter information into the text boxes and save the document for use over a period of weeks, months, or even years.

As users work their way through the checklist they'll encounter links that provide explanations of items on the list, contact information for agencies and organizations that can provide help, and lists of questions that direct marketers should consider asking.

Ask Drake

Ask Drake

This online form allows users to get up to date information related to specific areas of concern. Drake Agricultural Law Center faculty, staff, and students are available to answer questions and help producers, their advisors, and consumers find the information required to make an informed decision.

We will get back to you as soon as possible. The time for a response may depend on the complexity of the issue and how frequently the question is asked. You may want to check out the "Frequently Asked Questions" to see if your question has already been asked.

If you don't have a question, feel free to leave a comment and share your experiences. The questions and comments submitted here will be saved and used to provide periodic updates to the "FAQs" page.

State Contacts

The Appendix: State Contacts

The original "Legal Guide" contained contact information for an extensive list of state organizations. This directory is now updated and available here. Its divided into the following categories for each state.

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Food Safety and Licensing
  • Farmers' Market Contacts
  • Cooperative Extension Services
  • SARE Coordinators
  • Labor Departments
  • Small Business Development
  • Farm to School

Some states do have different resources available or different names for certain agencies.

Other Reference Tools

Reference Tools