Creativity helps small-scale farmers survive

Jun 24, 2013

To survive as a small-scale farmer, it may not be enough to merely grow food. With most people eating food grown by very large commercial agricultural enterprises, small farmers can attract sales with some creativity and a personal touch, reported Gosia Wozniacka of the Associated Press.

Farm operators generated $10 billion in 2007 from farm-related activities other than crop or livestock wholesale, an increase of nearly 80 percent from 2002, the article said.

For perspective on what is known as value-added agriculture, Wozniacka spoke to Shermain Hardesty, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Davis. Hardesty said value-added products are "a way to have a product to sell year-round, even during winter months."

Examples of value-added products are jams and jellies, farm stays, workshops and U-pick operations.

"It reinforces farmers' connection to consumers," Hardesty said. "And by getting involved in marketing their identities, they can expand their profitability."

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By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist