How can farmers use agritourism as a way to diversify their income?

For farmers who sell directly to consumers, agritourism offers the opportunity to identify new customers and establish a relationship with those customers. By marketing agricultural products directly to customers, they can lose the middleman and reduce costs. An official website of the United States government Official websites use. Government A.

The gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States. Agritourism farms that contain a recreational or educational business component, such as visits to a working farm and fruit picking, are clustered in West Texas, the Intermountain West, and some coastal areas. Female operators, older operators, and those who operate large ranches with livestock or horses (ranches for men who specialize in tourist activities, such as camping and horseback riding) are more likely to have income from agrotourism. Farms in remote rural areas are more likely to participate in agrotourism, but smaller agricultural operations rarely report significant agritourism revenues; on the other hand, agrotourism farms close to urban areas tend to have higher agritourism revenues.

Farmers and ranchers generate income through recreational or educational activities, such as visits to a working farm or “pick your own fruits and vegetables” programs. Start-up and small and medium-sized farms are increasingly exploring agrotourism as a strategy to remain competitive. Agritourism also has the potential to help revitalize rural economies, educate the public about agriculture and preserve agricultural heritage. In addition, community-focused farms may find agrotourism an attractive option because it provides more job opportunities for local residents.

While many factors influence an operator's decision to adopt agrotourism, ERS researchers identified agricultural and regional characteristics associated with increased revenues from agrotourism. Being located close to natural services or close to other outdoor activities had a statistically significant positive impact on the economic activity of agrotourism. Farms and ranches in more populated counties also generated more income, although farms in less populated counties were more likely to adopt agrotourism. This may be due to the expansion of marketing opportunities in more populated areas, while farms in more rural areas may be adopting agrotourism because they perceive fewer alternative sources of income.

For example, farms close to urban areas also have higher local food sales, all things being equal. Finally, certain types of agricultural and livestock production, specifically grapes, fruits and nuts and specialized livestock farms, had a positive and statistically significant impact on agrotourism revenues. These types of farms involve multiple opportunities for human interaction and visitor participation, which attracts more visitors. The researchers found several factors at the farm level associated with agrotourism companies.

Women operators were more likely to participate in agrotourism, especially in larger agrotourism farms. Older operators were slightly more likely to adopt agrotourism than younger farmers, all things being equal. In addition, farms and ranches that processed or sold food for human consumption, such as those that participated in local or regional food systems, were also more likely to adopt agrotourism. Direct-to-consumer marketing (such as farmers' markets) and direct retail food sales (such as selling to restaurants) offer free marketing to agritourism companies through word of mouth.

Finally, farms and ranches with cattle and horses were more likely to implement agrotourism. Horses, in particular, are associated with higher-value agrotourism companies, such as typical ranches (ranches specialized in tourist activities, such as camping and horseback riding). Regional drivers of participation in agrotourism include a county's entrepreneurship, as measured by indirect variables, such as the non-agricultural self-employment rate and the patenting rate. This suggests that agricultural and non-agricultural entrepreneurship are likely to be linked in rural areas.

The results also suggest that some places may offer greater opportunities than others to adopt agrotourism based on regional assets, travel infrastructure and related sectors already established. Counties with high agrotourism activity can benefit from the concentration of industry, probably an effect of a well-established regional reputation. For example, visitors are more likely to visit well-known wine regions or agrotourism farms near picturesque county roads. The researchers identified agrotourism groups using a statistical method that groups counties with a high proportion of farms involved in agrotourism.

These groups were identified as “hotspots”, while groups from counties with a low proportion of agrotourism farms were identified as “cold spots”. Agritourism hotspots adjacent to coastal urban centers were dominated by small farms. Dude Ranch agrotourism was also found in the intermountain west, close to natural amenities, such as national parks. Finally, a major tipping point in West Texas was mainly driven by recreational hunting.

On the other hand, cold spots were predominantly in the Midwest. These agrotourism patterns differed depending on climate, culture and landscape. As the proportion of farms and ranches with income from agrotourism increases, more farmers and ranchers may be encouraged to adopt agrotourism activities. Previous research has documented the loss of small and medium-sized farms and ranches, so revenues from agrotourism can offer a viable strategy to keep these farms afloat, especially near agrotourism hotspots.

Future research could help identify best agrotourism practices, keys to success, or barriers to growth. Monitoring agrotourism operations over time would help researchers to better understand the characteristics of successful operations and why some companies have chosen to participate in agrotourism. Future research could also help identify the benefits of industrial agglomeration for rural economic development and how they vary depending on the type of agrotourism company, the characteristics of the regional location, and the indirect effects of other local industries. Another way you could generate additional income for your farm is to engage in agrotourism.

In many areas, tourists enjoy visiting farms and seeing how they work. If you have a particularly interesting operation, you could charge visitors to come and see it. For example, if your farm produces its own butter, tourists may be interested in seeing it produced. The area where your farm is located will play an important role in determining if this option will work.

Most people won't go far out of their way to see a farm. When a lot of free-roaming farm visitors show up and the farmer or his staff don't control all the activities, pleasant surprises can appear when farm visitors spontaneously create their own entertainment. When non-agricultural citizens come directly to the farm attracted by pleasant experiences, the farmer can benefit in multiple ways. Not all properties have the right mix of natural and physical services to take advantage of the benefits of agrotourism.

By preferring to remain deeply rooted in their land, agrotourism gives them the opportunity to share what they are doing with others and to visit people outside the farm, sometimes even from other countries, without having to travel. The farmer did not have to do any promotion to generate agricultural tourists, or offer any type of crowd management. At the lavender farm in Pelindaba, in Washington state, farmers wisely invited local artists to paint their blossoming fields during their festival. Agritourism isn't for all farms and ranches, and many agrotourism projects don't achieve the expected level of success.

When farmers invite groups that are already organized, such as 10 members of a long-standing garden club or 15 members of an established reading group, there is already a working synergy with the group that is often lacking when the same number of people from the general public are invited. In some cases, farm owners use agrotourism as a marketing platform to attract customers to the farm to buy and pay directly for the crops from the farm, eliminating both the need to deliver the crops and the need for intermediaries. .

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