Agricultural activities are allowed in many zoning designations throughout the County. The Rural Farm (RF) and Agriculture Resource Land (ARL) designations are in place to reduce development pressures on lands of agricultural significance to the County and encourage a robust agricultural economy in those parts of the County best suited to farming. Parcels zoned as ARL are considered to be of greater importance to the long-term viability of Pierce County based on soil types and parcel sizes respective to their geographic location.
Agricultural activities and businesses are also allowed in other zoning designations, including R5, R10, R20, Rural Separator and Rural Sensitive Resource lands. If you would like more information about permissible agricultural activities and zoning regulations, please contact our offices.
The Agriculture Census is conducted every five years and collects facts and figures about American agriculture at the County level. It is conducted through a multi-year outreach effort by USDA staff and relies on accurate and timely responses from agricultural operations. The most recent Census was conducted in 2022 and should be released in early 2024.
The Growth Management Act (GMA) shapes agricultural policies through the Pierce County Comprehensive Plan. It is the growth management act’s legislative order to maintain and enhance the agricultural industry and conserve productive agricultural lands.
The Pierce County Comprehensive Plan was originally adopted November 1994. The Plan guides growth and future land use decisions in the County over a 20-year period. This document is regularly updated, with an amendment process that can be initiated through multiple channels.
The Pierce County Community Plans inform parts of the Pierce County Code, including zoning and development regulations. Community Plans may have agriculture-specific guidelines that go beyond those included in the Comprehensive Plan. Not all areas of the County have their own Community Plan, so the agricultural policies from the Comprehensive Plan are applied in those areas.
The 2006 Strategic Plan is a snapshot of how agriculture in Pierce County was undergoing rapid change in the mid-2000’s. Many of the findings and conclusions are still relevant today as Pierce County farms continue to face challenges from development pressures, high costs of doing business, inadequate agricultural infrastructure, and maintaining market access.