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Small Farms Overview

Small farms research and extension efforts at the University of California are focused on the challenges and opportunities of California's small-scale farm operators.

We develop field and marketing research aimed at the needs of small- and moderate-scale farmers, and provide that information to farmers who are often not reached by traditional extension programs. Our clients include farmers of many different cultures who operate a wide variety of farming operations, often with limited resources.

We are part of the University of California's division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UCANR). The Small Farm Program was created in 1979 by an act of the California legislature and operated as a statewide program of UCANR until 2009.

Research and extension for small farms are supported by the following:

  • Small Farm Advisors and Community Educators: Located in various California counties as part of UC Cooperative Extension, advisors and community educators conduct research and interact with farmers directly

  • Small Farm Workgroup: Advisors, faculty, specialists, and interested professionals meet regularly to collaborate and to broaden the scope of research, education, and economic development efforts

Our Vision

We are guided and motivated by a vision of a thriving, viable California agriculture that has a diversity of small- and moderate-scale farms that remain profitable, enhance the environment, enrich our culture, and improve the quality of life for both producers and consumers.

Our mission is to promote such a community by conducting applied research and outreach programs for the successful adoption, management and marketing of potentially profitable crops and enterprises

Our goal is to continue improving our areas of expertise, expanding our range of competence and focus, and serving our various stakeholders-farmers, marketing managers, the University, the USDA and policymakers, our staff and other educators and researchers-through our applied research and education programs.

If you would like to talk a small farms advisor, please see our visit our staff page. If you would like to talk to a farm advisor in your county who is also interested in working with small-scale farmers, please browse our extended contact list.

History of the Small Farm Program