Commissioner of Agriculture, Markets, and Food

Section 425:4

    425:4 Duties of the Commissioner. –
In addition to the powers, duties, and functions otherwise vested by law in the commissioner of agriculture, markets, and food, the commissioner shall:
I. Represent the public interest in the administration of the department and be responsible to the governor, the general court, and the public for such administration.
II. Except as otherwise provided for in this title, have the authority to adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, necessary to assure continuance or granting of federal funds or other assistance intended to promote agriculture.
III. Have authority to establish a unit within the department to provide for internal administrative functions, including financial, personnel, and other management functions.
IV. Organize the department into divisions and bureaus and assign to such divisions and bureaus their functions.
V. Employ, subject to the state personnel system and within limits of appropriations, such inspectors, clerks, and other assistants as are deemed necessary.
VI. Engage in research and educational programs which benefit agricultural producers, consumers, and the economic and environmental interests of the state.
VII. Cooperate, so far as is practicable, with the extension work of the university of New Hampshire.
VIII. Accept, hold in trust, and exercise control over donations and bequests made to the department for promoting agricultural education or the general interests of agriculture.
IX. Adjudicate disputes concerning activities that constitute agritourism pursuant to RSA 21:34-a. Prior to a party filing a land use application with a municipality, or after such land use application is denied, an applicant may petition the commissioner for a declaratory ruling regarding whether or not a municipality's ordinance, bylaw, definition, or policy regarding agritourism activities conflicts with RSA 21:34-a. The commissioner's jurisdiction shall be limited to the question of whether or not a municipality's ordinance, bylaw, definition, or policy on agritourism conflicts with RSA 21:34-a. The commissioner, or the commissioner's authorized representative, shall notify the parties, hold a hearing within 30 days of such request, and shall issue a declaratory ruling within 15 days of the hearing. The commissioner's declaratory ruling shall be dispositive, including in future land use applications with a municipality where such ordinance, bylaw, definition, or policy is at issue. A party aggrieved by the declaratory ruling may petition the commissioner for reconsideration within 20 days of the declaratory ruling, and thereafter, within 30 days of the decision on reconsideration, may appeal such decision to the New Hampshire supreme court. If the applicant petitions the commissioner for a declaratory ruling, all municipal appeal processes, including those defined in RSA 677:2 shall be stayed. The 30 day time period in which to request a rehearing shall begin on the next calendar day after the commissioner issues the declarative ruling, or after any appeal of the declarative ruling is complete. The commissioner shall adopt rules pursuant to RSA 541-A relative to the declaratory ruling process, including, but not limited to, an allowance for timely intervention of an aggrieved party. A municipality shall furnish the commissioner with a copy of any non-confidential appeal decision on any land use application involving whether or not a municipality's definition or policy on agritourism conflicts with RSA 21:34-a.

Source. 1985, 72:1. 1995, 130:2, eff. July 23, 1995. 2018, 56:2, eff. July 15, 2018.