farming license?

Finding land, working a small plot or anything else countryside related
qshoefarmer
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farming license?

Postby qshoefarmer » Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:15 pm

So heres the story. I live in a Buddhist temple. The temple bought an area of land from a green tea farmer and now I have the opportunity to grow vegetables on it. I don't have a license to work. I'm here on a religious activities visa. When the temple bought the land they registered it as an area that would be a parking lot. I'm not sure the exact size of the area but I think it's about a 1/3 acre. So far there is no parking lot and there aren't any immediate plans to build one but about a third of the area has vegetables growing on it. I want to become more connected with local farmers to learn more and I want to go into the nearby JA to ask some questions and also connect with farmers to buy some things. I'm not currently trying to sell any produce except the temple has mentioned that they could possibly sell things from the temple itself to visitors. My question is am I going to have any problems if I go into the JA and start asking questions? I dont want to cause any problems for this temple.

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Re: farming license?

Postby Zasso Nouka » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:31 am

You don't need a farming license the grow or sell vegetables in most situations, however it's not always straightforward. Much depends on what the land is actually registered as, not all farmland is registered as farmland. All of my land is registered as 'sanrin' mountain & forest and requires no license, you can do with it as you please.

Technically you need a farming license to buy or rent farmland so someone in the temple must have one to have bought the land in the first place. Although this is often not actually checked when a sale is being made but people have run into problems later when it was discovered they didn't have a farmer's license, one of our members here found himself in that situation and can't use his land and I've heard stories of other people also being forbidden from using land that they had bought without having a license. If someone in the temple has a license you can work the land as their 'apprentice' or under their direction without any issues I think.

If the land is registered farmland then there are several grey areas that really do vary from prefecture to prefecture. Although the law is supposed to be the same across the whole country it is interpreted quite differently by individual prefectures and cities. Some are incredibly strict while others don't seem to care at all, our own city will bend over backwards to help new farmers get registered. A lot also depends on your local Nougyou Inkai.

To sell vegetables grown on registered farm land you should have a farmer's license, if you don't intend to sell them then this falls into one of the grey areas that is sometimes permitted and sometimes forbidden. If the land is registered as sanrin or something else no license is required to sell anything produced on that land. From your post it looks like the temple may have changed the designation from farm land to something else to enable the construction of a car park, I would recommend checking with your temple to see what the land is actually registered as.

Sorry this is a bit of a rambling answer but unfortunately it's not a clear cut situation and varies quite widely from location to location so there isn't one definitive answer. If you are doing this as a 'hobby' and it's not your main source of income then sometimes local authorities are willing to cut you more slack than if you were doing it as a full time occupation or they will just turn a blind and and pretend they don't know anything about it.

A side not on a completely different subject, JA don't always know a lot about organic farming. A lot depends on the local staff, most of our JA people don't have the slightest clue about organic farming at all.

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Re: farming license?

Postby qshoefarmer » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:49 am

thank you for your helpful response all of this is very interesting. I'm fairly sure that no one in the temple has a farming license so it must have been like you said where the seller didnt check. the green tea farm was directly in front of the temple so the previous owner asked us before anyone else if we'd like to buy it. I also know for certain that the land is registered for a car park and a monk here told me not to make the whole thing into a farm so that if anyone checks itll still look like we might build a car park. If the JA doesnt know much about organic farming is there any other ways you would suggest to be good to connect with local farmers? My japanese isnt that good but its enough to get by.

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Re: farming license?

Postby Zasso Nouka » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:27 pm

Not all farm land is registered as such and it's possible to seller had it rezoned before making the sale, sounds quite likely if it is registered for a car park. I'm sure they've done things legally and as the land isn't in your name you probably don't have to worry too much about how you are planning to use it. The reason we generally advise people to thoroughly check things out beforehand is when they are planning to purchase land so they don't run into any problems later, your case is different so you are probably fine.

I wouldn't like to say all JA offices aren't good, Eric's local office sound quite helpful. All I can say is our local JA isn't that knowledgeable about organic farming, they do know a lot about using pesticides and weed killer though. Best thing to do is nip into your local office and see if they can put you in touch with a local organic farmer and then see if s/he needs a volunteer. If they don't know anyone you could try asking around your neighbourhood.

You can also ask as many questions as you like here, between us all I'm sure we can answer many questions and most people's experience will be related to organic growing.


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