Two “farm” stories in the news this week — one bad, one good.
Bad: A survey of farm management instructors in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system suggests the state’s farmers are facing a difficult couple of years. The report finds 40 percent of the farmers enrolled in the farm business management program expected to lose money this year, and projections suggest many farmers be forced out of business in 2010.
Good: Some enterprising farmers have figured out how to make a buck. Tourists will pay to do the work some farmers may consider drudgery, the New York Times reports.
These new farm stays are profitable. For three years, Scottie Jones has been subsidizing her small lamb and turkey business by renting out a cabin on her 60-acre Leaping Lamb Farm, about two hours from Portland, Ore. For $125 a night, visitors can feed the animals, bring in hay and learn the basic rule of farming: closed gates stay closed and open gates stay open. It now brings in seven times what she makes on her meat business, plus a little free labor.
“Even those people sitting on the porch drinking a glass of wine will come help me feed eventually,” she said.
It’s a haycation!