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
- 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.
- UC Agricultural Labor Management website
Extensive information and publications about labor management, conflict management, incentive pay, and related issues. The site also includes Spanish-language resources.
- UC Agricultural Ergonomics Research Center
Information and tips for good ergonomics, focused especially on vineyard and nursery settings.
- Simple Solutions: Ergonomics for Farm Workers
From the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety. Also available in tipsheets_spanish or as individual tip sheets:
- Heat Stress field cards
Pocket-sized folding cards in English and Spanish for outdoor workers, developed by University of California, Western Center for Risk Management Education, and California Farm Bureau Federation.
- Heat Illness Prevention
Resources from California Department of Industrial Relations.
- Heat Hazards in Agriculture (PDF)
Guide for employers to conduct "tailgate training for workers, from University of California in cooperation with California Department of Industrial Relations.
- Pesticide Safety for Small Farms
Designed for small family farms, this publication outlines the importance of following safe pesticide practices for storing, mixing, applying, and disposing of pesticides. Illustrations and text indicate steps to reduce or eliminate the risk of pesticide poisoning on the farm. 32 pp. 1998.
- Workplace posters from California Department of Industrial Relations
- Workplace posters from U.S. Department of Labor
- Guide to Managing Risks and Liability at California Certified Farmers Markets (PDF)
This 20-page guide addresses safety concerns, liability insurance, and regulations for California markets.
- Risk Management Resources for Specialty Crop Producers
UC Davis & UC Cooperative Extension resources on all angles of risk management. Edited by Shermain Hardesty, 2007.
- Stress Management for Women Farmers & Ranchers (PDF)
Article from the UC Small Farm Program about common set of stressors experienced by farmers and ranchers, with an emphasis on women and stress management.
- Ag Risk Education Library
Articles and other resources on risk management topics including crop insurance, personnel management, financial risk, legal liability, and farm planning.
- USDA Risk Management Planning
Includes resources for evaluating and managing risks related to production, marketing, finances, legal and human risks.
- Considerations in Enterprise Selection
- How to Finance a Small Farm
- Farm Leases and Rents
- How to Determine Your Cost of Production