Without access to the same subsidies, technical assistance and other resources available to large-scale operations, small farms are struggling to survive a rapidly changing climate.
“For a long time we were seeing an increase in both large and small farms, but in the last ag census we saw a decline in small farms,” said Jeanne Merrill, policy director at California Climate and Agriculture Network, or CalCAN, a coalition of sustainable and organic farming organizations.
Diversified small and midsize farmers, who tend to 500 acres or less, can’t rely on the stable of consultants and university extension advisers that help larger operations get through extreme weather events, said Merrill. “It is getting much harder with water constraints, with heat events, with catastrophic wildfire to survive.”
Fires aren’t likely to make it through vast acres of irrigated crops on large…