Searching for Alternative Agriculture Income on the Farm?

Brooke Beam, PhD

Agriculture and Natural Resources/Community Development Extension Educator

Ohio State University Extension, Highland County

October 14, 2019


If you are looking for additional income for your farm, you are not alone. Depending on your interests and time commitment availability, there are many options to explore. While many individuals seek off-farm income by working for other businesses, there are opportunities to create extra income by using existing facilities on your farm.

For many travelers, Airbnb or VRBO has become a viable option for their accommodations while traveling. An Airbnb or VRBO is a privately-owned property that can be booked online or through a mobile app. The property owner provides a furnished space for the traveler to spend the night, and the traveler pays for the accommodation through the online site.

Several Highland County property owners have already listed their properties on Airbnb and VRBO as available for rent. With prices varying from $80 to $300 per night, there is a variety of options available for travelers. Airbnb and VRBO both charge a booking fee that can be passed to either the property owner or the traveler, but also provides reviews of the property as well as the renters. Properties available on Airbnb and VRBO vary in their styles and can be as rustic or refined as the property owner desires.

In order to list a property through one of the booking sites, the property owner must provide detailed pictures of the space, choose a price, and provide an accurate description of the location and accommodations. The spaces that can be rented through Airbnb or VRBO do not necessarily need to be stand-alone buildings, they can include spare bedrooms, in-law suites, loft above barns, or individual houses or cabins.

Airbnb also offers “Experiences” to travelers, and most relevant to Highland County farmers is the animal experiences that can be offered. According to the Airbnb website, their animal experiences are “the new standard for animal tourism” and the experiences follow “guidelines created with World Animal Protection, an organization committed to improving the lives of animals.”

In particular, there are “farm experiences” available for purchase. These experiences vary depending on the location and species of animal. For instance, you can cuddle goats in Albany, New York for $10.00, have a picnic with alpacas in Kansas City for $20, trail ride through the North Carolina Mountains for $65, or have a farm-to-table experience in Muir Beach, California, for $85 per person.

If any of these tourism-based on-farm income generators sound interesting to you, you may want to browse the Airbnb and VRBO sites to get ideas on vacation rentals and farm experiences. Additionally, you might consider staying in one, or encourage your visiting friends and relatives to stay in an Airbnb or VRBO the next time they travel in order to see if it is something you would seriously like to pursue. For more information about OSU Extension programming, contact the Highland County Extension office at 937-393-1918 or visit


Upcoming Programs:

Beef Quality Assurance and Transport Quality Assurance trainings will be held on Monday, October 28, 2019, in Xenia. BQA will start at 5:00 P.M. and BQA transport will be held at 6:30 P.M. The cost for BQA training is $10.00 per person. Transport BQA is free to attend. Contact the Greene County Extension Office at 9370372-9971 or email by October 24 to register.