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Guest Lodging on Your California Farm or Ranch, a practical guide

This 19-page pdf publication, available for free download, provides advice and resources for farmers and ranchers on offering on-farm lodging. The guide includes discussion of the following topics:

  • Assessing yourself/farm/ranch
  • Permits & regulations
  • Planning your farm/ranch stay
    • What are you offering?
    • Staffing
    • Reservations/booking
    • Liability & Insurance
    • Finances/pricing/budgeting
  • Marketing
  • Hospitality & customer service
  • Budget template
  • Sample waivers & forms
  • Resources & Acknowledgements

Budget template for a farm stay To use this budget form, adjust the line items to fit your needs and enter numbers that fit your operation into all the yellow-colored squares. As you adjust the numbers in the yellow squares, you will see the bottom line shift.

Blog Post: California Farm Stay Stories, by Penny Leff, January 2017

Blog Post: How to Use Airbnb to Add Value to Your Small Farm or Ranch, by Laura Snell, May 2019

Presentation: Paloma Pollinators; Farm Stays and Workshops - by Sean Krilletich, Amador County

UCCE Sonoma County Agricultural Farm Stay Fact Sheet

Farm Stay USA website
The website of the U.S. Farm Stay Association, a national trade association of farm stay operators, includes extensive resources for farmers and ranchers offering lodging or considering doing so. On this site are more complete discussions of topics covered briefly in the above guide, as well as access to a full series of Farm Stay Best Practices webinars. Webinar topics include (each topic is a separate webinar, viewable as a recording):

• Farm Stay Start-up Toolkit
• Protecting your Farm and your Guests - Insurance and Liability Considerations
• The Farmer Host - Hospitality
• Accomodations - One Star to Five
• Marketing Basics
• Reservations - Booking Your Gurests for a Farm Stay
• Taking Good Photos
• Adding a Farm Store for Additional Revenue
• Avoiding Burnout in Your Farm Stay Hospitality Business
• Food on the Farm: Cooking It, Serving It, Teaching It
• Marketing Beyond Social Media
• more webinars to come...

To access these resources,“sign up” on https://farmstayus.com/ as a farmer, go to “Farmers Guide” (using the menu) and then to the “Members’ Only Content”. To sign up, you will have to enter a bit of information, including your name, phone, email and address, but you do not have to fill out the whole form to get logged in, and there is no cost.

California Bed and Breakfast/Agricultural Homestay Food Facilities Guidelines, from the California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health

Guide, from University of Vermont Extension: How to Develop a Farm Stay Topics include: Assessing Yourself as a Farm Stay Operator; Planning Your Farm Stay; Activities for Your Guests; Guest Policies; Food and Dining; Regulations; Designing Your Space; Business Structure; Financial Goals; Marketing and Customer Service; Farm Stay Trends and the Ripple Effect.

Integrating Safety into Agritourism - a website created by the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, including walk-throughs, checklists and resources to implement safety best practices