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Small Farm Business

A listing of resources for small farm management and marketing.

Listen: How UMass Librarians can help YOU

Did You Know?

  • Massachusetts increased number of organic farms from 129 in 2002 to 295 in 2007, and organic sales from $7.8M in sales in 2002 to $17.5M in 2007.
  • More than 80% of Massachusetts farms are family-owned. Over 95% fit the category of "small farms", sales below $250,000.
  • Massachusetts is 2nd in New England for direct sales of farm products to consumers. At $42M in direct sales, Massachusetts farmers were responsible for 40 percent of New England's total.
  • Massachusetts ranks 9th nationally in total value of direct sales, following states such as California, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and Washington.
  • Massachusetts ranks 2nd nationally in value of average direct market sales at $25,356 per farm.
  • Massachusetts ranks 1st in the U.S. for farmland value at $12,202 per acre.
  • Female farm operators account for 29% of the farm operators in MA, up from 21% in 2002.
  • Agritourism income totaled $5.3M, up from $665,000 in 2002.

Sources: New England Agricultural Statistics 2007 and U.S. Census of Agriculture 2007.

Small Farm Business Research Guide

Aspire to own a small commercial farm? New to farming? Experienced but seeking support?

This guide focuses primarily on Massachusetts and the New England region
and offers information about:

  • Library-based resources (some databases accessible by UMass affiliates only)
  • Local resources
  • Business planning
  • Funding
  • Associations
  • Advocacy
  • Statistics

Your feedback is most welcome to improve this community resource -- click "Comment" in any box.

For more information, contact Madeleine Charney at 413-577-0784 or

Selected titles at UMass Amherst Libraries

MA residents may borrow books from the UMass Libraries! Click here for an application.

"Infarmation Specialist"

Contact Madeleine Charney, Agriculture Librarian

Quick Poll

How are you mostly involved in the small farm world these days?

Quick Poll
Farmer (or aspiring farmer): 6 votes (75%)
Professor, Higher Education: 0 votes (0%)
Administrator, Higher Education: 0 votes (0%)
Public school teacher: 0 votes (0%)
Landscape Architect: 0 votes (0%)
Regional Planner: 0 votes (0%)
Student of agriculture: 0 votes (0%)
Information specialist: 1 votes (12.5%)
Media: 0 votes (0%)
Other: 1 votes (12.5%)
Total Votes: 8
© 2016 University of Massachusetts Amherst.