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Farm Management

Besides growing and selling products, there are many other important aspects to managing a farm business. Business planning, finding land, managing employees, recordkeeping, adhering to regulations, insuring crops, and preparing for a rainy day and retirement all fall under the heading of "Farm Management."

New: Microloans Fact Sheet 2013
Information about the USDA Microloan Program for Small Farms


Below are farm management resources, by topic:

Farm Planning

  • smallfarmhandbook2nded
    Small Farm Handbook (2011)
    This 188-page book covers both the business side and the farming side of operating a small-scale farm. Co-authored by 31 University of California experts, including the Small Farm Program's Shermain Hardesty, Richard Molinar, Michael Yang, Aziz Baameur, Mark Gaskell, Desmond Jolly (retired) and Brenda Dawson.
  • Market-Driven Enterprise Screening Guide (PDF)
    Developed in partnership with the UC Small Farm Program, this guide is a series of questions to help farmers self-evaluate their knowledge of potential new crops or products to their farming business. Co-authored by Ramiro Lobo, 2008.
  • Business Plans for Farms & Rural Businesses
    This guide is from USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program.
  • UC Farm Business and Marketing Place
    University of California site geared toward Central Coast farm owners and managers, with links to papers on planning, managing and marketing a farm.
  • USDA's Farm-Risk-Plans website
    Includes resources for all steps of the farm planning process.
  • California FarmLink
    This service matches aspiring farmers seeking land with retiring farmers who are interested in selling or leasing their land.
  • Urban Agriculture in Alameda County, CA (PDF)
    This research brief presents early results from a survey of urban agriculture operations in Alameda County, by Kristin Reynolds. The paper examines "Characteristics, Challenges and Opportunities for Assistance" of urban agriculture, with an eye toward UC Cooperative Extension and other organizations.

Labor Management

Managing Risks


Family Farm Series: Farm Management

Originally developed in the 1980s, this series of publications provides an introduction to small-scale farming topics.

Additional management resources