Work as a Farm Caretaker, and Live Rent Free

If you've always wanted to farm, but aren't ready to buy a place of your own, learn the ropes as a farm caretaker. Best of all, you will live rent free!

| May/June 1976

  • farmhouse
    It's hard work taking care of a farm, but a great way to live rent-free doing what you love.

  • farmhouse

Are you ready to head for the country, but lack the $$ to buy or rent land? That was Dale and Sandy Deraps' situation exactly . . . until a friend suggested that theycaretake a farm.  

You've probably heard of house-sitting, or living in-and looking after—a residence while its owner is on vacation.

Well, farm caretaking is somewhat similar . . . except that, in the kind of cases I'm talking about, the owner is always away, so you don't have to worry about moving out in a couple of weeks or months. Plus, you get to see what farm life is all about—firsthand and close up—without having to invest thousands of dollars in your own "spread".

Sound like a good deal? We thought so, after a friend of ours explained the idea to us. At the time we had just spent weeks gumshoeing around the backwoods in search of low-rent rural housing (to no avail), we were ready to try anything . . . and caretaking sounded like just the answer.

So, at a cost of around $100, we placed the following ad in various newspapers and county journals over a two-month period:

We will protect and maintain your farm property for the privilege of living there. Caretaking includes safeguarding adjacent outbuildings, livestock, equipment, crops, woods, roads, fields, and water systems. No utilities needed except on-site water and stovewood privileges. Must be no more than two hours' driving time from St. Louis. Reply to Box__or call collect (314) 000-0000.

8/20/2019 7:07:21 PM

My husband & I own a small farm & I struggle with the upkeep due to health issues & frankly being overwhelmed at getting back on top of things. I need someone to help me for 10-15 hours each week in exchange for housing. You'd have plenty of time to have a job for income if you need it, outside of farm chores, that way. We are Christians, my husband's active military & we homeschool our children. We have a dog, a handful of dairy goats, a small flock of poultry, and a few rabbits along with a vegetable garden, a few fruit trees and a berry patch. We're on fertile land with lots of native edibles and room to stretch out. The farm is located 5 minutes outside a rural town about 1.5 hours north of Indianapolis, Indiana. There are several outbuildings, one of which will be converted to a nice cottage, with a private drive. You'd have to help with the conversion, but we'd house you in the intermediate in other accommodations. If you're interested, please email

8/20/2019 12:17:05 PM

Hello, My name is Arlette, I am from The Netherlands And my soon to be husband is Bryant from New-York U.S. We are 50 years old and starting our second youth lol.. At the moment we are located in The Caribbean for Bryant's work and want to move back to the U.S (Atlanta Georgia aria if possible, but not necessary). We are looking for a horse ranch to lease, rent to own, or care taking your farm.. We are experienced with horses, dogs, cats,chickens, etc and agriculture. Besides the farm work we are very business minded and have a passion for making a horse farm from nothing to profitable. We had many experiences in overall farm work, management, cultures and helping out people to make their business grow. I speak many languages and people say I am a very good cook :) . If you are looking for someone to manage and work at your horse ranch and want to know more? Please email us at Thank you for reading our thoughts!

7/26/2019 6:35:50 PM

Hello,my name is Vladimir,I am from Seattle Wa.Looking for place to live in King County in exchange for watching your farm,feeding your animals,cooking( I am excellent cook of any russian food including baking,)also I can be companion for your elderly parents or loved ones.any ideas? Please let me know.


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