1996 Montana Farm and Recreational Business Survey
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During the latter half of 1996, Montana Agricultural Statistics Service conducted a recreational business survey of farms and ranches across Montana. The survey focused on finding out how many farms and ranches are currently involved in some form of recreational business. Reports were summarized for more than 7,500 respondents from nearly 16,000 farms and ranches sampled. There currently are 22,000 farms and ranches in Montana.

When asked, "Do you or a family member operate any form of recreational business on your property?" five percent of all respondents said yes. Approximately 1,100 farms and ranches have recreational businesses. Farms and ranches with more than 3,000 acres in their operation had the highest percentage of respondents saying yes with 9 percent saying they operate some form of recreational business.

Fee hunting/fishing was the most popular form of a recreational business reported and guiding/outfitting was the second most reported business. Other reported businesses included dude/guest ranch, working farm/ranch, bed and breakfast, cattle/wagon drives, and tours.

Of the farms and ranches that did not currently operate a recreational business, 7 percent, or about 1,500, responded they anticipated operating a recreational business on their property in the next five years. Again, the largest farms, or those with over 3,000 acres, had the highest rate with 7 percent saying they will operate some form of business in the next five years. The types of businesses the farms and ranches would operate were ranked nearly the same as those places currently operating a recreational business.

The survey was conducted with funds provided by Travel Montana.
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