Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Orange bar
Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry




September 24, 2003



Division code staff



Scott McLellan



Explanation of the agricultural building exemption in the state building code



Below is a review and commentary on the provisions associated with the state building code exemption of agricultural buildings. They span several sections of the state building code, Minnesota Rule, and Minnesota Statute. This information is designed to help you track the provisions and assist building officials and others in understanding them.



The limited examples and commentary are intended to provide guidance to building officials in understanding the agricultural exemption to the state building code. For other questions, or determinations of specific property, building officials should discuss with their municipal assessor or attorney. If you have questions or comments, you're welcome to ask me.



MN Rule part 1300.0030 Subp. 2 A states in part, The code does not apply to agricultural buildings except with respect to state inspections required or authorized by Minnesota Statutes, sections 103F.141, subdivision 8, and 326.244.
This means that administration of the state building code cannot be applied to agricultural buildings. The only exceptions are for (M.S. 130F.141) floodplain management and (326.244) electrical installations. Although not referenced here, both water wells and septic systems are also regulated by Minnesota law.



MN Rule part 1300.0120 Subp. 4 states in part, Permits shall not be required for the following: (13) agricultural buildings as defined in Minnesota Statutes, section 16B.60, subdivision 5.
Because the code does not apply to agricultural buildings, building permits are not and must not be required. A zoning permit may be required by the municipality.



MN Rule part 1300.0070 Subp. 4 states, Agricultural building means a building that meets the requirements of Minnesota Statutes, section 16B.60, subdivision 5.
To determine if a building is considered agricultural, see the referenced statute.



MN Statute 16B.60 Subd. 5 states, Agricultural building means a structure on agricultural land as defined in section 273.13, subdivision 23, designed, constructed, and used to house farm implements, livestock, or agricultural produce or products used by the owner, lessee, and sub lessee of the building and members of their immediate families, their employees, and persons engaged in the pickup or delivery of agricultural produce or products.



To qualify, the "agricultural building" must satisfy the conditions of this definition for how both the building and the land (273.13 subd. 23) are used.


First, the uses of the building must be consistent with those described:



It must be used primarily for housing farm implements (not a parking garage), livestock (which does include horses and the commercial boarding of horses – see 273.13 subd. 23 (e)(3), and those "agricultural products" enumerated in clause (e).




It should be noted that this "agricultural building" cannot be for use by the public such as for retail sales, mini-storage, riding lessons, livestock shows, etc



The building can serve as a place of employment for persons working with the agricultural products and those engaged in their pickup or delivery.


Second, the building must be on agricultural land as defined in section 273.13, subdivision 23.



Minnesota Statute section 273.13 Subd. 23 defines agricultural land in items (c) and (d).
To make this determination, the building official should rely on how the property is classified according to the records of the county assessor's office. After all, property classification is their jurisdiction and this is the statute they use to make their classification. This is probably the best method because it removes the building official from a subjective decision on a matter over which they have no knowledge or training.

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