There is a great deal of interest in agritourism as a niche tourism sector for farms. One reason is that people are looking for an authentic experience that might link them to their past, or that teaches them something new. Visitors also want to get away from the stress of everyday routine and experience a seemingly simpler life.
Farm visits offer a day in the country, where guests may pick berries, go for a hayride, sample some homegrown or homemade products, see animals, and learn how farms operate. The variety of agritourism experiences that can be offered is huge - from farm lodging or farm-based recreation like hiking or hunting, to pumpkin patches, U-pick farms, farm festivals, wine tasting, farm restaurants, agri-entertainment like corn mazes, and more! Visitors are willing to pay for these experiences as long as the price is reasonable and they find value in what is being offered.
Agritourism provides an additional source of revenue for farms that allows them to keep farming and increase the quality of life for their family. Many farms with large wholesale operations that have struggled with low commodity prices have turned to agritourism as a way to keep farming and earn a higher return from direct to consumer marketing. Some have reduced their acreages, growing fewer crops but capturing more consumer dollars. Agritourism allows farmers to capture both the consumer’s food dollar as well as some of the money spent on entertainment and recreation each year.
Agritourism is a trend that is not likely to go away soon. The growth of wine trails and the wine and beer industry illustrates the potential. Other types of farms are jumping on the agritourism bandwagon and doing very well. As the agritourism offerings expand, the opportunities to attract visitors increases. Collaboration among farmers to organize farm trails, host farm open houses, and other such joint ventures will strengthen the industry and help grow new agritourism attractions to keep visitors coming back for more.
Tip Sheet: Getting Started in Agri-Tourism
Last updated February 20, 2018