Farmstay and Ranchstay
Farmstay & Ranchstay Program
Canadian Farm Placements (accommodation and Meals Included)
Few Canadians, and even fewer international visitors have the opportunity to experience the real Canadian countryside. Experience Education's Farmstay & Ranchstay Program gives international students and visitors alike this opportunity by placing them on a family farm for 2 to 4 weeks.
Click here to download Farmstay Image Gallery. All images Copyright Experience Education 2014-2015
Farmstay and Ranchstay placements are done at farms or ranches in rural and wilderness areas of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec. There visitors live with a family and assist them in the day to day upkeep of their family farm. Visitors see the great outdoors, get up close and personal with animals, and try Canadian food, fresh out of the ground. While visitors receive room and board in exchange for their help on the farm, a work permit is not required.
For English and French-language learners, the Farmstay and Ranchstay Program, like all experiential programs, gives them an added opportunity to practise their new language in a real social context. For those visitors with a farming background, Farmstay gives them an insider view of how agriculture works in North America.
The Farmstay and Ranchstay Program has very open and flexible requirements and can adapt to accept all participants, including those with English or French as a second language, and many special needs participants. The four key requirements of Farmstay are:
- Visitors must be physically able to perform farm work (this includes being able to lift 20kg)
- No animal or wild grass or pollen allergies
- English or French at a lower intermediate level or above
- Aged 17 and above
NB: Visitors wishing to work with horses must have previous experience, as must visitors wishing to work with machinery
Farmstay and Ranchstay placements are available in 6 different regions in Canada:
- British Columbia - Farms and ranches of all types
- Alberta - Famous for family farms and wild-west cowboy ranches
- Saskatchewan - Canada's breadbasket, home of the family farm
- Ontario - Famous for orchards vineyards, and historic family farms
- Quebec - French-speaking Canada, home to quaint family farms, orchards and vineyards
- Atlantic Canada - Canada's oldest agricultural area with many family and artisanal farms
For visa purposes, all placements are restricted to smaller hobby farms. These are farms that generally do not hire employees, who have smaller crop yields, and small acreages [Source: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/manuals/bulletins/2013/ob503.asp (released March 1, 2013)].
Placements are available on the following types of farms:
- Artisanal Food Processing - These are small farms specializing in production of craft products such as honey, preserves, organic free range meats, and heirloom vegetables.
Intensive Vegetable or Fruit Growing - Small farms typically specializing in a single agricultural product. These include pumpkin patches, Christmas tree farms, and orchards.
Ranches - Cowboy placements. These are placements on cattle or horse ranches. As all include horse-riding, volunteers must be experienced riders.
Traditional Family Farms - Also called hobby farms, these are the most common type of placement and could include a mix of small animals and low acreage crops.
Vineyards - Small hobby vineyards producing regional wines.
Sample Farm Duties
Types of duties a student will have will depend on the sort of farm at which they are placed, the month they arrive, and any special requests they or the host have made.
Depending on what type of farm the student is placed at, their farmstay duties can include (but are not limited to):
Caring/Feeding for Animals
Household accommodation duties
NB: Every Farmstay and Ranchstay placement experience is labour-intensive and requires the student to be physically fit and active.
All farmstay and ranchstay placements include on-site accommodation at no extra charge. Visitors stay in the family home, or in rare cases at a guest lodge attached to or next to the home. Rooms are usually private, though larger farmstays and ranchstays may have single sex shared accommodation.
Farmstays and ranchstays typically have shared bathroom facilities with the family, and shared kitchen and living spaces. Meals are included for all visitors, and often are made from local food grown right at the farm.
Internet access is available at most farmstays and ranchstays - though as in many rural areas around the world, the internet connection can be slower than what you would expect in cities. Please see the video above for a tour of farmstay and ranchstay accommodation.
Each Farmstay and Ranchstay placement is unique, but in general, almost all placements follow this structure:
Registration: At least 4 weeks before their intended arrival in Canada, a visitor completes their Farmstay and Ranchstay Registration Form, and pays their program fees.
Placement Matching: After receiving the registration form, Experience Education, matches the visitor to a placement. Matches are done according to the visitor's placement choices, and farmstay and ranchstay availability. Two weeks before the visitor arrives in Canada, Experience Education sends them a document describing their placement and host family.
Orientation: Once the visitor arrives in Canada, Experience Education conducts an individual orientation session with them. During this orientation, we discuss problem solving, travel arrangements, and review the placement details. At the end of the orientation, Experience Education gives the visitor their bus ticket to the farmstay or ranchstay host and sends them off to their farmstay or ranchstay.
NB: Blackout Dates: Farmstay and Ranchstay bookings are accepted year round. However placements are not done in the month of December. We would also discourage (but not prohibit) farm and ranch placements outside of British Columbia between the months of November to February (inclusive), as many farms and ranches can be buried under 2 metres of snow at that time.
If you are an individual student or visitor and would like to register for the Farmstay and Ranchstay Program, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page.
If you are a school or agency, looking to register a student or participant, please submit the application to Experience Education at least 4 weeks in advance of your client's desired start date. The registration email should be sent to contact [at] experienceeducation.ca and should include all of the following:
- Copies of the following documents:
- A note in the body of the email stating the student's name, start date, end date, and proposed arrival date.
After we receive the registration email, EE will contact you (the school or agent) to arrange a time to meet the student and complete the registration process.
The Experience Education Farmstay and Ranchstay Program is designed to be the most flexible and affordable in Canada, and includes farmstay or ranchstay placement, one-way in-province bus transportation from Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, or Montreal to the farmstay or ranchstay, and accommodation, room and board for the duration of the placement. Existing partner schools, please contact EE to request a price sheet. New partners, please email email@example.com to request a quote.
For individual pricing, please complete the registration form below.