More Farms Join the Hospitality Business
According to the most recent Census of Agriculture (taken in 2017), there are about 2 million farms across 900 million acres of land in the United States. Sadly, the number of U.S. farms and acres owned and operated by families has declined over the previous decade.
However, a growing number of farms are operating as seasonal or year-round attractions designed to lure visitors into the countryside. Agri-tourism involves a secondary commercial enterprise at a working farm, ranch, or agricultural plant that seeks to educate and/or entertain visitors while supplementing the owner’s income. Some examples of business activities in this growing sector include farm stays, harvest festivals, guided tours, horseback rides, cooking classes, wine tastings, roadside stands, and the opportunity to pick your own fruit or vegetables.
Autumn is prime time for many farm-based attractions, and families may not need to travel far from the city limits for a fun weekend outing. Kids can learn how food is grown and get a taste of farm life with authentic experiences such as apple or pumpkin picking, petting zoos, hay rides, and corn mazes. Adults may enjoy snapping priceless photos, trying locally prepared foods and drinks, and shopping for unique souvenirs or gifts. Even better, the cost to participate is relatively low when you consider that many popular amusement parks often charge entrance fees of around $100 or more per person.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2019