The Right Way To See Florida
Central Florida Ag News|August 2021
Great Climate, Crops Mean Opportunities for Agritourism Abound
TERESA SCHIFFER

CENTRAL FLORIDA IS A HOTSPOT FOR AGRITOURISM. Our state government recognizes the value of agritourism here and since 2007 has created laws protecting the farmers who wish to open their property to the public for various activities. Since visiting any farm has some inherent risks, it was important to state legislators to protect both farmers and the public from some of these dangers. Farmers want to know that they will not be liable for injuries associated with the unavoidable risks of conducting normal farm activities, and the public wants to be assured that farmers will not be negligent when it comes to taking safety precautions to protect visitors.

Situated between the globally acclaimed theme parks of the Orlando area and the trendy urban metropolis of Tampa Bay, Polk County might seem at first like just a sleepy bedroom community. However, with more than 2,000 active farms in the county, there is actually quite a lot happening here. If you think citrus is the only thing growing in Florida, think again! We have 81 different types of crops produced here, plus 19 livestock and poultry products. Polk County is simply teeming with opportunities for agritourism.

“Everything that you do, outside of just producing in your farm, is consider red agritourism,” says Luis Rodriguez, UF/IFAS’ Small Farms and Pesticide Education Agent for Polk County. “For example, any type of tours you can give to certain groups of people, that’s agritourism. If you have a bed and breakfast near or inside your farm, that’s considered agritourism.” U-pick crops and cottage industry foods, like honey or jams that are sold at the farm, are also considered agritourism.

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