It has not been easy for Nancy and Jim Weiss, who moved to an 87-acre farm in Pomfret, Conn., several years ago.

They woke at dawn one day to spray pumpkins they intended to sell and found most of the crop had rotted on the vine from heavy rainfall.

Nancy had to interrupt sign-painting parties for Jim's legislative campaign to chase pigs back into their pens.

A fox killed most of their chickens and their dog killed the rest.

The Weisses were among the families featured in the Agriculture Department's 1978 yearbook, filled with advice for urban and suburban dwellers moving to small farms.

With statistics indicating rural population is rising, Agriculture officials decided that such families needed help to cut food costs and earn a little extra money, or at least break even.

Mrs. Weiss said her "disappointments have been great, so we have tended to stress the successes." She boasted that a bumper green bean crop brought income from a roadside stand which more than paid for seed, fertilizer and plowing.

The 432-page book, titled "Living on a Few Acres," was released earlier this year and is available from members of Congress and through the Government Printing Office.

Previously, most Agriculture Department advice has been for the larger farmer, as James Peterson of Frederick County, Md., found when he asked how to care for five or six chickens. He received a pamphlet with advice for 10,000 broilers.

The book tells city dwellers the drawbacks and advantages of rural living and gives detailed advice for raising crops and animals.

Prospective hog raisers are warned that a hog will need about 650 or 700 pounds of feed to grow from a weaning weight of 40 pounds to market weight of 225 pounds.

And they are told to avoid locating hog houses or manure piles within 500 feet of neighbors if they want to maintain good relationships.

The book contains hints about more exotic animals, from raising minks in wire cages (one to a pen most of the year) to raising bees (avoid them when they are in bad moods).

It suggests that when raising rabbits for profit, worms should be raised too for profit, worms should be raised too so they will consume rabbit feces and spilled feed; that eliminates odor, waste and work.

Other hints deal with making money from orchards, grapes, vegetables flowers, herbs, dogs, woodlots, Christmas trees, plant nurseries, nuts, chickens and eggs, beef and dairy cattle sheep, dairy goats, horses, fish and even vacation farms and dude ranches.