Based on a monographic study of the French agricultural sector, this article analyses the political and social consequences of red tape on farmers. In a first step, it describes the different dimensions of individual experiences of administrative constraints. For this purpose I use the analytical framework proposed by Moynihan, Herd and Harvey (2015) which distinguishes learning, compliance and psychological costs associated with paperwork. In a second step, the article explores several hypotheses regarding the administrative aspect of policy feedbacks based on the analysis of farmers’ relationship to bureaucratic and political authorities. Overall, this case study encourages the general study of red tape as a political experience, and underlines the symbolic aspects of such experience.