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If you plan to start a business manufacturing or distributing commercial feed for livestock or pets, you’ll need to apply for a commercial feed license. This business license will authorize you to conduct business in your state; if you plan to work across state borders, you may need additional licensing.

Types of Feed That Need Licensing

If you’re not sure whether you need a commercial feed license for your business, check with your state’s Department of Agriculture to find out the specific business licenses, permits & tax requirements you need to adhere to. Here are a few of the types of feed that do require licensing:

  • Sheep, swine, horse and beef feeds
  • Broiler feeds
  • Turkey feeds
  • Starter - grower feeds (egg-type)
  • Layer - breeder feeds (egg-type)
  • Mineral feeds
  • Pet and specialty pet foods
  • Wild bird and wildlife feeds

There are exceptions, such as manufacturing pet food, that don’t require licensing, so check your state’s policy. You also may not need a commercial feed license if you’re retailing or wholesaling feed produced by another party, since that party would be the one responsible for being licensed.

What You Need to Know

In addition to getting your commercial feed license approved, you will also be required to submit a Commercial Feed Tonnage Distributed Report each year. Additionally, you may be required to have an inspection before your business license is approved, and then for subsequent renewals.

One of the primary reasons you’re required to file a commercial feed license is that your state’s Department of Agriculture needs to know what ingredients you plan to use in your feed. This way, the department can tie back to those ingredients should there be any outbreak in illness from animals who have eaten feed with a particular ingredient.

You cannot operate your business until your commercial feed license has been approved by your state Department of Agriculture. This typically takes about four weeks, but could take longer if there are issues slowing the process. Make sure to allow ample time for the business license processing before you open your doors for business.