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May 16, 2016

Land Lenders talk Agritourism for farm diversification

We all know that there are no guarantees in agriculture; it’s just part of the nature of the industry. However, anything that can help to ensure that a farm or ranch’s bottom line will stay healthy is something we would want to bring to light. Farm diversification is one main reason why agritourism has become so popular in recent years. However, a new income stream is not the only benefit of agritourism.

Agritourism Explained

Agritourism is any venture on a farm or ranch that’s not directly related to raising and harvesting produce or livestock commercially. The activity generally complements the farm or ranch’s usual undertakings, and the agribusiness portions can be as uncomplicated or as involved as desired.  For example, farm diversification ideas might be as simple as a dairy farm offering farm tours for a fee during set hours. Some operations may also offer a farm shop where tour participants can buy milk, cheese, and other dairy products. Stepping it up a notch, that same dairy farm could add cheese-making classes or a more in-depth experience on milking and caring for dairy cows. Other more involved options include offering a “life-on-the-farm” experience, complete with overnight accommodations or offering the idyllic setting as a wedding or event destination.

Some agritourism businesses consist of holding an event for the general public, such as hosting a fall festival experience complete with pumpkin picking, corn maze, food vendors, and music a few weekends in the autumn season. The definition of agritourism is quite broad, and many states are enacting legislation— such as Florida’s House Bill 59— to promote and protect agritourism ventures because they are so beneficial for farmers and participants alike.

Agritourism Benefits: Farm Diversification and Beyond

Agritourism is definitely a boon to farms and ranches looking to add income to the business, but money is not the only benefit of agritourism. Ask anyone with an agritourism side business and they’ll tell you the extra planning and work are worth it because they get to agvocate while entertaining. They’re introducing a whole new set of people to agriculture, and they’re getting the chance to dispel all the stereotypes and myths that the general populace may hear about agriculture. Agritourism gives those in the agriculture industry a chance to tell their stories, to put a face to local produce and products, and to show how they’ve been stewards of the land and their livestock long before anyone was talking about such things. In agriculture, you reap what you sow, and agritourism plants good things for agriculture.

We at AgAmerica Lending are always happy to assist those in all areas of agriculture to be as financially strong as possible. As the nation’s premier land lender, we help agribusinesses of all kinds to grow and succeed with our low interest rates, long amortizations, and outstanding 10-year line of credit.

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