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Close encounters of the ranching kind

Airbnb rental puts vacationers in the middle of the roundup action.

Raney Rapp, Senior Writer

June 18, 2024

2 Min Read
Angus Cow
As the world turns and our society changes, sometimes our encounters with consumers get closer to home rather than farther apart.Getty Images/iStockphoto

Memorial Day just passed and with it a leisurely, celebratory start to summer. But, for those in the ag community, a three-day weekend or any major holiday represents an opportunity for farm hands with off-farm jobs to pitch in rather than a time for relaxation.

For the Rapp family, that’s almost always the case. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Memorial Day - all prime opportunities for those of us who have moved off the family farm to come home and help (in this case, working the herd and weaning calves).

A general contractor, an ag economist, a corporate marketer, an ag journalist - doesn’t matter the day job, all the kids’ and spouses’ hands are on deck when it comes time for a roundup.

The Rapp family compound is within the city limits of a small town in southwest Missouri, which is arguably the heart of cattle country, so it’s not strange to see people out in the fields regardless of the time of year or weather.

But, in a unique situation - that I can see potentially happening as other family farms evolve - an opening in housing has resulted in revolving neighbors at the oldest residential property on family land.

We affectionately know it as Granny’s place, the original native rock farmhouse conveniently located next to the working pens. With no reliable local renters and no Granny to keep up the old place, an enterprising cousin decided to turn the structure into an Airbnb.

With key words like “quaint” and “cottage” as well as a few renovations, the old place makes a nice little getaway for couples on vacation or in-town for weddings and events. But a few times a year, it puts them right in the middle of family farm operation headquarters.

This Memorial Day, as our family caravan of Facebook marketplace-special gas-powered Yamaha golf carts revved up from the main house to the pens, one lovely couple was enjoying the cool morning weather and their coffee on the patio. It was potentially the most redneck portion of their vacation by far to see such a parade so early in the day. Five golf carts updated with teenage boy spray paint jobs and old bus seats, one with a heavily pregnant driver and toddler, plus a 4-wheeler rolled right through their peaceful morning.

I just hope they didn’t stick around that evening to be serenaded by the pen of weanlings outside their bedroom window – that would be the definition of a farm stay.

All this to say, that as the world turns and our society changes, sometimes our encounters with “consumers” get closer to home rather than farther apart. As things change, opportunities to organically create positive farm memories expand to people beyond our tight knit family farms – and that’s something to be celebrated.

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BeefFarm Life

About the Author(s)

Raney Rapp

Senior Writer, Delta Farm Press

Delta Farm Press Senior Writer

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