As with the other general reference tools found in the right hand column, the resources found here are embedded throughout relevant portions of the “The Legal Guide to Direct Farm Marketing” and the “Direct Farm Marketer’s Checklists.” Use of the Guide and Checklists are recommended for a comprehensive approach.

These publications and links are also provided here in order to facilitate research and quick access.

Please let us know if you have suggestions for additions to the Library.


I.  General Information

II. Business Education

III. Farmers Markets

IV. Funding Resources

V. Policy Considerations

VI. Risk Management

VII.  State Guides to Laws and Regulations

VIII.  Direct Marketing Periodic Publications

IX.  Direct Farm Marketing Books

I. General Information

AMS Publications and Presentations Directory
Farmers Markets and Local Food Marketing: Publications and Presentations, from USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

Abstract: A page of the AMS website providing access to publications and presentations on agricultural marketing by AMS personnel and other researchers. The resources are searchable by topic area, such as Direct to Consumer Marketing and Farm to School.

II. Business Education

Field Guide to the New American Foodshed
Field Guide to the New American Foodshed

Abstract: The purpose of the Field Guide is to illustrate how local food systems work in the everyday world of business and economics. Specifically, it is designed to identify different foodshed-related business models “in the field” and help entrepreneurs and their advisors investigate relevant business structures and strategies. To accomplish this purpose the Field Guide website contains case studies, a Decision Tree for exploring new business opportunities, and a One-Page Planning tool to help take the first step.

The IRS Farmer's Tax Guide
Publication 225, The Farmer’s Tax Guide

Abstract:  This publication explains how the federal tax laws apply to farming. Use this publication as a guide to figure your taxes and complete your farm tax return.

You are in the business of farming if you cultivate, operate, or manage a farm for profit, either as owner or tenant. A farm includes livestock, dairy, poultry, fish, fruit, and truck farms. It also includes plantations, ranches, ranges, and orchards.

Tax Guide for Owners and Operators of Small and Medium Size Farms
Tax Guide for Owners and Operators of Small and Medium Size Farms

Abstract:  From the Land Grant University Tax Education Foundation, Inc., this guide provides a comprehensive tool for planning and managing your farm’s taxes.

III. Farmers Markets

Farmers' Markets Rules, Regulations and Opportunities
Farmers’ Markets Rules, Regulations and Opportunities, by Neil D. Hamilton, for the National Agricultural Law Center (June 2002).

Abstract: This publication covers beginning a farmers market, typical rules and regulations for markets, producer considerations when entering farmers market contracts, and more.

Should Farmers Market Vendors Carry Product Liability Insurance
Should Farmers Market Vendors Carry Product Liability Insurance, by Cookson Beecher in Food Safety News (Nov. 20, 2012).

Abstract: This article provides an introduction to Product Liability Insurance and the pros and cons of insurance requirements at farmers markets.

IV. Funding Resources

The resources listed here provide information on how to obtain funding. To find actual funding programs that fit your business’ or organization’s characteristics and needs, visit the Find Funding Opportunities page.

Guide to USDA Funding for Local and Regional Food Systems
Guide to USDA Funding for Local and Regional Food Systems, from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (April 2010).

Abstract: This guide explains fifteen grants and programs that can help develop or improve local and regional food systems development. A case study is provided for each program.

Small Farm Success Stories
Small Farms Success Stories: USDA Small Farms and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Coordinators’ Collections, 2006 – 2008, from USDA.

Abstract: Providing a list of USDA small farm and beginning farmer and rancher coordinator programs along with success stories describing how they work.

V. Direct Farm Marketing Policy

The Emergence of Retail Agriculture
The Emergence of Retail Agriculture: Its Outlook, Capital Needs, and Role in Supporting Young, Beginning, and Small Farmers,” by Alan R. Hunt and Gary Matteson

Abstract: This paper explains the term “retail agriculture” as “characterized by agricultural producers differentiating their products by characteristics that are recognized by the end purchaser.” The paper takes examines the importance of recognizing retail agriculture as a concept and explains the importance of using the concept to gather information on this industry and deliver suitable risk management and other support programs to the many young and beginning farmers attempting to enter farming.

Farms, Food, and the Future: Legal Issues and Fifteen Years of the New Agriculture
Farms, Food, and the Future: Legal Issues and Fifteen Years of the ‘New Agriculture, Neil Hamilton, 26 Journal of Environmental Law and Litigation 1 (2011).

Abstract: This article discusses a series of current legal and policy developments now underway in the United States which are shaping America’s farm and food future, continuing our movement toward the New Agriculture predicted fifteen years ago. It will also describe some of the examples and opportunities for how lawyers and law students can use the law to help influence the direction and impact of these social movements. The critical lesson of the last fifteen years is that while the mechanisms of law and justice may appear to move slowly, when they are measured over time our progress toward a more just, progressive, and democratic society is inexorable.

Good Laws, Good Food: Putting State Food Policy to Work for Our Communities
Good Laws, Good Food: Putting State Food Policy to Work for Our Communities, Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (November 2012).

Abstract: The intent of this publication is to provide state food policy councils with a basic understanding of the legal concepts surrounding state food systems, knowledge of the key policy areas, and examples and innovations from across the country.

VI. Risk Management

AGR-Lite Factsheet
AGR-Lite Factsheet, from USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA)

Abstract: This two page document provides essential information on this important program from RMA. AGR-Lite provides protection against low revenue due to unavoidable natural disasters and market fluctuations that affect income during the insurance year.

Product Liability Insurance at Farmers Markets
Should Farmers Market Vendors Carry Product Liability Insurance, by Cookson Beecher in Food Safety News (Nov. 20, 2012).

Abstract: This article provides an introduction to Product Liability Insurance and the pros and cons of insurance requirements at farmers markets.

Risk Management Glossary
Risk Management Glossary, from USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA)

Abstract: As its name implies, this publication provides explanations of commonly used risk management terminology. It does that it is not meant to be a complete list of terms, and if you have additional questions, you should contact a crop insurance agent.

State Guides to Direct Marketing Laws and Regulations
Protecting Your Farm or Ranch: A Guide for Direct Farm Marketing in Idaho, by Diane Green, Colette DePhelps, and Cinda Williams (2008).

VIII. Direct Marketing Periodic Publications

Growing for Market
Growing for Market

Abstract: This monthly newsletter for market gardeners, is published by Lynn Byczynski, a market gardener from Lawrence, Kansas.  It is one of the best sources of timely news and practical information about producing and marketing vegetables, food, and flowers.

Small Farm Today
Small Farm Today

Abstract: This magazine is the most comprehensive journal serving the needs of America’s small farmers.  It features wide-ranging coverage of topics on a variety of crops, marketing practices, production methods, equipment, livestock, and rural living, all with a special focus on the needs of small farms.  The magazine sponsors an annual small farms conference each Fall in Columbia, Missouri.

Acres U.S.A.

Abstract: This monthly news journal bills itself as “a voice for eco-agriculture” and is undoubtedly one of the most interesting farm publications in the nation. The paper provides outstanding coverage of developments in organic agriculture, the production and marketing of alternative and specialty crops, and features regular installments on direct marketing.  The paper also includes an eclectic array of articles on homeopathy, bio-dynamics, and other alternative production methods.  It reviews many publications and books of interest to direct marketers and publishes a catalog of books dealing with ecological farming.  The paper sponsors an annual conference in December on eco-ag topics.

Successful Farming
Successful Farming

Abstract: Of the traditional farm magazines SF provides the most consistent and supportive coverage of families involved in direct farm marketing.

Direct Farm Marketing Books

Sell What You Sow! The Grower's Guide to Successful Produce Marketing
Eric Gibson’s Sell What You Sow! The Grower’s Guide to Successful Produce Marketing

Abstract: This is a comprehensive discussion of the production and marketing of fruits and vegetables.  Its available at LocalHarvest, Amazon, and other online book retailers.

Joel Salatin books
Joel Salatin, a farmer from Virginia, is one of the most successful proponents of direct farm marketing.  He has published several books used by thousands of small farmers including:  Salad Bar Beef, about grass based rotational grazing; and Pastured Poultry, which discusses a moveable grazing system of poultry production which he has championed.  His newest book You Can Farm, the Entrepreneur’s Guide to Start and Succeed in a Farming Enterprise discusses a broad range of production and marketing issues.
Chelsea Green Publishing Company Books
Chelsea Green Publishing Company from White River Junction, Vermont plays an important role in publishing books about small farming and direct farm marketing.  The company has published all of the titles listed below, which are available at 800/639-4099.

• Gene Logsdon, a farmer and writer from Ohio is a familiar name to many small farmers from his work with The New Farm.  His most recent books, The Contrary Farmer, The Contrary Farmer’s Invitation to Gardening and You Can Go Home Again, are powerful descriptions of the problems with conventional agriculture and the opportunities for small scale producers interested in direct farm marketing.

• Elliot Coleman, a farmer, writer from Maine, and his wife Barbara Damrosh, are leading proponents of organic farming and market gardening.  Two of his books, The New Organic Grower and Four-Season Harvest, are valuable additions in any library, especially for growers in colder climates who need advice on extending the growing season.

• Lynn Byczynski, a Kansas grower, who edits Growing for Market, listed above, has written several books for direct farm marketers, including The Flower Farmer, which discusses the challenges and opportunities of farm-scale commercial flower production.

Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat
Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat, by Temra Costa

Abstract: Farmer Jane tells the stories of 30 exceptional women leaders that are working on changing the way America eats by farming, educating, advocating, and/or transforming how we eat through their food businesses.