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Defining Small Farms in California

What is a "small" farm?

The USDA defines a small farm by income, not acreage: a small farm has less than $350,000 in annual gross cash farm income. Because the value of different crops can range from low to high, income is often more useful than acreage to categorize a small farm.

Within UC Cooperative Extension, the term "small farm" is used more broadly to describe farming operations whose needs for research and extension are outside of traditional commodity-based extension programs, such as highly diversified farms, farms with value-added products or direct marketed produce, and limited-resource, beginning, and socially disadvantaged farmers. The goal of UC ANR Small Farms Advisors and program staff is to ensure that small-scale, diversified, locally marketed, and historically underserved or socially disadvantaged farmers have full access to extension services and applied research support from UC ANR programs.