New farmstay manual offers business tips

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MINNEAPOLIS — As interest grows in local foods, more people want to establish a relationship with the farmers who grow their food and the land on which it is grown.

Agritourism offers farmers a way to capitalize on this interest while sharing their love of the land and farming with others. Farmstays, in particular, are a type of agritourism gaining popularity across the country.

What it is

In the simplest terms, a farmstay is lodging available to paying guests on a working farm or managed forestland. Beyond this, a farmstay can take many forms: a farm family may convert a room in their farmhouse to accommodate overnight guests, repurpose an outbuilding into a sleeping cabin or build a new structure specifically for guests.

The newly-released publication, Farmstays: Diversifying your Farm Business Through Agritourism: A How-To Manual for Establishing a Farmstay in Minnesota, is a must-have for those considering starting a farmstay in Minnesota. It guides readers through a series of questions that range from “Is operating a farmstay for me?” to “How do I manage reservations?”

What’s included

Chapters include elements of a farmstay, marketing, setting up a farmstay business, regulations and putting it all together in a business plan. The publication also includes a farmstay start-up checklist and several pages of resources.

The manual is a collaboration of the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, Renewing the Countryside and Stimulating Economic Progress.

The publication is available on line at www.misa.umn.edu. Farmers can request a print copy by contacting MISA at misamail@umn.edu or by calling 612-625-8235 or 800-909-6472.

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