Exploring Agritourism
Central Florida Ag News|August 2020
Pennsylvania Researchers Join Florida in Examining Industry With $500,000 Grant
MARY TOOTHMAN

FARMERS IN FLORIDA have been expanding into adventures in agritourism in recent years, exploring new ways to bring in income and make use of their land.

Smiles away in Pennsylvania, it is a fairly new concept — one that will soon be explored more fully with a $500,000 research grant.

The goal of the endowment, provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is to develop practical information allowing rural communities and farm owners to benefit from growing consumer interest in “on-farm” experiences.

A Penn State agricultural economist will lead a team of researchers in a three-year study of agritourism. Farmers who would like to benefit financially from agritourism will be provided with research-based information and guidance.

Diversifying farm operations into agritourism can provide farmers with a new source of income — one type of change that is always welcome. Farmers have quickly become familiar with these terms — and are learning about what they can mean in terms of the financial health of farms.

Ever-versatile when it comes to ways to continue to operate, many farmers have taken on new adventures in agritourism with gusto. Farmers have opened their property to the public for crop mazes, weddings, hayrides, school tours, and more.

Because laws can get complicated when it comes to permits and insurance, Florida created a formal definition of agritourism.

Agritourism is “any agricultural-related activity consistent with a bonafide farm or ranch in a working forest, which allows members of the general public to view or enjoy activities related to farming, ranching, historical, cultural, or harvest-your-own attractions for recreational, entertainment, or educational purposes.”

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, researchers are gearing up to make good use of that grant money.

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