Dora Ann Hatch is the Agritourism Coordinator for the LSU AgCenter.

Farm stays are ideal for families with children. Most of the farm stays include activities like milking cows, gathering eggs, herding cows, riding horses, baling hay, fishing, planting crops, harvesting crops and jelly making, just to name a few.

So, if you have a working farm, you might want to consider adding agritourism. Agritourists in upstate New York paid a farmer $300 a night to sleep in a tent and bale hay during hay season. For nourishment they were allowed to pick their own produce and prepare it themselves.

Agritourists visiting Genesis Farm near Chapel Hill, North Carolina, make reservations to “sleep in the hay.” No, they really didn’t sleep in the hay, that’s a term used in Europe that refers to the centuries-old tradition of having overnight guests on a farm. A “sleep in the hay” is popular in England, France and New Zealand and the idea is becoming common in the New England states of the United States.

In Georgia, individuals can spend the night in a Conestoga wagon for $200. Included in the package at the Rock Ranch is the opportunity to explore the ranch. When it’s time to bed down, guests have everything they need to start a camp fire and have a cookout the old fashioned way.

Offerings vary for most farm stays. Working Cows Dairy in Southeast Alabama, provides a cottage near their dairy for overnight paying guests. They get to experience dairy life. Avan’s Farm Retreat in Bush Creek, Tennessee, offers visitors a chance to get away and relax in the tranquility of the country. If you don’t want to ride a horse they offer a golf cart to cruise the farmlands; chores are optional.

In Winnsboro, Louisiana, the Ranch House Bed and Breakfast is located on a working cattle ranch. It offers a country setting where you can sit on the front porch and take in the vistas of the ranch. Starting at $125 a night the accommodations have a bunkhouse feel. Kathy and Butch Robinson are the owners and they can be contacted by calling 318-355-2091 or 318-722-3323.

3/12/2010 1:29:29 AM
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