Farm Stay Business Guide

The business of adding lodging to your farm, ranch, or vineyard

Garlic FlowersWhile you may know everything there is to know about caring for livestock or planting crops, adding lodging to your property takes careful planning and preparation to do it well and to do it properly.

This primer outlines the basic steps you must consider to successfully add lodging to your property.  It is not meant to cover everything because our operations, our requirements, even our laws are so varied from state to state (even county to county) when it comes to hosting guests on farm or ranch land.

We provide this information from our own experience.  It is a good idea to either take a business planning class or speak with your local Small Business Development Center or Extension Services if you have questions or need assistance with your business setup.

Just to be clear: whether you treat you farm stay as a hobby or a business, there are usually legal requirements within your county.  Whether you decide to adhere to these requirements or not is up to you. We would recommend you be legal in what you do because you never know when you might end up as the cover story for a news outlet and the magazine ends up on someone's desk get our drift.

This primer is a work in progress.  We will add to it as time allows. If you have a particular question we haven't covered yet, feel free to contact us directly [Contact Info].  We have a lot more in our head and at our fingertips, than we have in writing.

Farm Stay 101: The Basics

Farm Stay Feasibility Worksheet: hobby or business?

Marketing your Farm using the Internet

Insurance coverage

Legal and liability considerations

Financial considerations

Hospitality aka Customer Service

Reservations; how to

Food on the Farm


Checklist (from who is doing it to what the farm looks like)

Another great resource that has come online in the last several years is the Vermont Agritourism Collaborative hosted by the University of Vermont. This project pulls together topics and research from a variety of northeast universities, often funded by USDA SARE grants. While the information is regional, much of it applies nationally. Check out their site for information, checklists, just about anything you might need for your agritourism operation. We greatly admire the work that has been done to further the expertise and professionalism of agritourism operators.

Quick Farm Finder


Farm/Ranch Stay Maps