237: Scottie Jones on Farm Stays.
Experiencing farm life at the source, a few days at a time.
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Scottie is a woman of many talents. She has an MA in Medieval Archaeology Plus an MBA. She worked at Arizona State University for 11 years, was the Arizona franchisee for The Body Shop, and later Director of Retail and Host Services at The Phoenix Zoo.
Currently she is a sheep farmer at Leaping Lamb Farm in Oregon, a farm stay host, and the founder of Farm Stay U.S. – a national travel site for farm and ranch vacations.
Building on the success of her own farm stay, Scottie has made it her mission, via FarmStayUS.com, to raise awareness of the 1000+ working farms and ranches in the U.S. that offer overnight accommodations. For travelers, it’s about experiencing farm life at the source, not just at the farmer’s market.
Her feeling: it’s all about real food, real farmers, and living the lifestyle that built this nation – if only for a weekend.
In This Podcast:
Moving to a farm gave Scottie Jones and her husband a new chapter in her life. Yet that story changed completely when she decided to open her farm to guests and realized there was no association or group available to help organize farms as a vacation resource. She tells us about how she decided to fix this and how she made FarmStayUS happen.
Listen in and learn about:
- Her move from Tempe, AZ to Oregon by finding a farm on the internet
- Starting out on a farm for the first time
- How her accountant and some of her friends thought they lost their minds
- Taking some time to come up with the name Leaping Lamb Farm
- 65 acres in Oregon – this sounds amazing
- White noise and the Milky Way
- Her 100-year-old apple orchard
- What she does with all the apples
- The other delicious fruits she is harvesting
- What a FarmStay is and what can be expected as a typical guest on a typical family farm
- Creating a trade association after realizing there was a real need to help vacationers find farms to visit
- Applying for USDA grants to get the websites started for this new trade association
- Breaking new ground and bringing in new ideas here in the States
- Getting a new revenue stream by sharing the farm with visitors
- Who her visitors are and why some of them come back multiple times
- Looking forward to future generations and passing knowledge on to young farmers
- Working with the agriculture extension
- The association members and listed farms connected with the site
- The popularity of this agri-tourism activity in other countries
- The types of farms in the program, and what kinds of things can be learned on the farms
- How to search for options on the FarmStayUS website
- Some amazing examples of farms that are listed on FarmStay
- An impressive new farm White Oak Pastures that is listed in the association
As well as:
- Her failure – An early experience with lambs and losing too many before she found resources to learn from; and a surprise, off-season, drop of ten lambs after letting a (partially) castrated ram stay with the sheep
- Her success – Figuring out how to diversify into a FarmStay, opening her farm up to guests and sharing what she learned
- Her drive – seeing kids consider becoming a farmer after a FarmStay, and watching families connect with each other and with nature while on the farm
- Her advice – Go into farming with your eyes open, try it out! Book a FarmStay and try out farming – go home with a pretty good story.
Scottie’s Education recommendations:
Extension resources in every state
How to reach Scottie:
FarmStay Website: www.FarmStayUS.com
Her farm website: Leaping Lamb Farm
Click here to listen to Ruth and Grace Pepler’s Podcast on Agritourism