Did you know that farm tourism can be a viable new cash crop for farmers, as over 71 million people between 1999-2008 have started taking part in visiting farms for recreational activities?
Due to Florida’s favorable climate, success with tourism and diversity of agricultural products, agritourism options for farmers and ranchers to expand the value of their businesses has increased dramatically over the last decade. Agritourism options such as wedding-venues, U-Pick operations, corn mazes, guided farm tours, trail rides can provide additional income for small to medium farming operations and provide social and economical benefits for the farm, family, and community.
Agritourism operations, like any other business endeavor require prior planning, understanding of the local marketplace, local and state codes and requirements, and liability and legal requirements. If this is something that you are looking into starting on your farm or ranch, we suggest you follow a few steps to putting your ideas on paper:
- Identify your vision and goals – Why do you want to start this agritourism operation?
- Understand surrounding tourism opportunities – Are there other similar businesses around which might minimize your businesses success?
- Create a business plan – Any great plan starts with a pen and paper.
- Define and identify a market – Make sure that there is local and regional interest or need for your vision.
- Understand legal issues and purchase liability insurance – Understand the ramifications behind having guests on your property.
- Develop a strategy to manage visitors – If this is your home, how are you going to handle things like privacy, flow of auto and foot traffic, and signage?
- Use limits of acceptable change to decrease negative impacts – How many visitors will you allow over a given period of time?
- Evaluate and monitor agritourism’s costs and benefits – Understand all the inputs that must go into this endeavor, financial AND emotional and weigh them against the potential outputs.
Florida Agritourism Association Regional Networking Social
So, are you looking at starting into agritourism or already have an agritourism enterprise and are looking at networking with other agritourism businesses?
Please be welcome at the Florida Agritourism Association Regional Networking Social on November 30th, 2017 at 6:00pm, hosted by Amazing Grace Crop Maze located at 2899 Wisteria Farms Road, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043. FATA is the statewide organization that supports and represents the growing agritourism industry in Florida, through helping farmers and ranchers add value to every acre.
If you are interested in going, please RSVP to email@example.com or text 904.509.1105 and we look forward to seeing you there!
For further information regarding starting an agritourism operation, you can visit the follow sites:
Expanding Florida’s Farming Business to incorporate tourism
The Florida Agritourism Association