Employment Regulations
Farmers' Market/Local Food Markets

An online how-to manual is available from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. 

Food Safety Guidelines
Health/Safety/Disability Guidelines

Resources for Accessibility Evaluation & Consultation

Please contact Karin Ford to help you conduct an accessibility evaluation or consultation.

Karin Ford
Disabilities Consultant
Iowa Department of Public Health
321 E. 12th St. Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0075
Phone: 515-242-6336
Email: kford@iadph.state.ia.us
Fax: 515-281-4535


Marketing Local Foods in Iowa Flowcharts

These flowcharts will help determine the requirements for processing and selling food products in Iowa and will guide producers and processors to the appropriate state agencies or departments. 

Organic Certification

Organic standards by USDA were implemented in 2002. To be certified organic means “agricultural products have been grown and processed according to specific standards of various state and private certification organizations.” USDA-accredited certifying agents must certify food and processing operations that grow and process organic foods.

Organic Certification Program, Iowa Department of Agriculture 


Food Service Permits and Inspections

Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division

  • Winery Licensing, Contact to obtain an alcoholic beverage license and permits. Separate licenses are used for off-premise and on-premise consumption of beer, liquor and wine. 

Animal Exhibitor Licensing (Petting Zoo)

Animals are protected under the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and overseen by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Farm animals at agricultural shows, fairs and exhibits are exempt from licensing. Exhibiting farm animals for nonagricultural purposes including petting zoos may need to be licensed. Animals not commonly kept on U.S. farms, such as camels, must be licensed.

The Animal Welfare Act does not regulate horse shows. Animals kept in a wild state for game preserves, hunting preserves or similar businesses are exempt. Hunting events are not regulated.

Registering a Business

Step-by-step guide to get your business started.


Hotel/Motel Tax

This tax is imposed on the gross receipts from the renting of rooms for 31 consecutive days or less. This tax applies to bed and breakfast establishments. The tax rate may not exceed 7 percent.

Internal Revenue Service

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, and is used to identify a business entity. Generally, businesses need an EIN. You may apply for an EIN in various ways, and now you may apply online.

This EIN is your permanent number and can be used immediately for most of your business needs, including: opening a bank account; applying for business licenses; and filing a tax return by mail. However, no matter how you apply (phone, fax, mail, or online), it will take up to two weeks before your EIN becomes part of the IRS' permanent records. You must wait until this occurs before you can: file an electronic return, make an electronic payment, or pass an IRS Taxpayer Identification Number matching program. Phone: (800) 829-4933 from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. 

Iowa Department of Revenue 

Iowa Sales Tax

Taxes for the sales of prepared food, goods and events must be remitted. No retail sales tax is collected on the sale of farm-raised fresh fruits and vegetables. Corn maze admission, for example, which is deemed as recreational, is subject to sales tax. You may apply for a sales tax permit by visiting the Iowa Department of Revenue’s Web site.

It is possible to obtain a temporary sales permit for special events, such as a festival. For a temporary sales tax permit, fill out an online form with the Iowa Department of Revenue, or phone Cheryl Puls at (563) 386-6484 ext.10.

Tourist Oriented Directional Signing (TODS) from Iowa DOT

The Iowa Department of Transportation issues permits through an application process for outdoor advertising signs along the state’s primary highways. For the application and to learn more about the TODS rules, visit the link below or contact Stephanie Anderson.

Iowa Department of Transportation, Tourist Oriented Directional Signing


Check with your county zoning on allowed uses of land. These codes generally address such things as buildings, new construction and signage.

Iowa State Association of Counties – Locate your county officials