A new edition of the "Small Farm Handbook" has been published by the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The 2011 edition is a collection of expertise from 31 University of California authors, including UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors and specialists.
The handbook, first published in 1994, has been updated to include an important new chapter on postharvest handling and food safety for small-scale producers of perishable crops. The authors have also expanded the marketing and labor chapters of the second edition.
"One thing that's different about this edition is that we really tried to focus on the business aspects of farming," said Laura Tourte, one of the book's two technical editors and director of UC Cooperative Extension in Santa Cruz County.
"In California, we know that a wide diversity of crops can be grown, and the business aspects of it –- from managing your finances to marketing your products –- are absolutely critical if you want to stay viable and sustainable over the long term," said Tourte, who has expertise in farm management and small-scale farms.
This 188-page book has 11 chapters covering both the business side and the farming side of operating a small-scale farm:
- Requirements for Successful Farming
- The Basics
- Enterprise Selection
- Farm and Financial Management
- Marketing and Product Sales
- Labor Management
- Growing Crops
- Postharvest Handling and Safety of Perishable Crops
- Raising Animals
- The Vitality and Viability of Small Farms
- California's Small Farms: An Overview
The book also includes six profiles of farmers from throughout the state who produce a diverse array of agricultural goods, from apples to coffee, lamb to ong choi.
The 2011 edition of the "Small Farm Handbook" costs $25, plus applicable tax, shipping and handling. It can be ordered online from the UC ANR Catalog at http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu.