The growing appeal of agritourism

The United States Department of Agriculture has reported that agritourism revenue has more than tripled over the last 15 years, growing from $275 million in 2002 to $949 million in 2017 (in 2017 $).

The 15-year, 245% increase in agritourism revenue far exceeds the 13% increase in admission and fee revenue for entertainment and cultural venues such as FECs, amusement parks, zoos, museums, etc. and a 19% increase for admissions to spectator sports over the same time period (in 2017 $).

Agritourism (sometimes referred to as agritainment) includes a wide variety of consumer activities that take place on farms, anything from pumpkin patches and corn mazes in the fall, live u-cut Christmas trees for the holidays, u-pick fruits and vegetables, festivals, farm markets, event centers, farm tours, farm dinners, to name just a few.

There are many reasons for the growing popularity of agritourism, including its authenticity, buying local, nostalgia and its seasonality that adds to its repeatability.

We've been working for agritourism farm clients for over 25 years and recently our work has increased. In addition to return consulting visits to a number of our agritourism clients (the oldest of which we've been working with for 25 years) and many new clients, we are also working with a county-wide business and industry development agency in the Northeast to assist local farmers with feasibility and design for development of new agritourism businesses.

Here's what one of our long-term agritourism clients wrote us after our annual audit and planning session:

“Excellent strategy sessions. Terrific research, planning, and execution in front of the principals to bring facts and ferreted opinions forward while leaving silly axioms that had been floating around, out of the equation.

“Year after year, our brief get-togethers are consistently the number one strategic planning sessions that occur with anyone from anywhere”.

The North American Farmer Direct Marketing Association (NAFDMA), is the organization that represents agritourism farmers. Randy White, our CEO, will be presenting a webinar for them on January 14th on The Changing Culture of Out-of-Home Leisure and its Implications for Agritourism, and a two-hour workshop on Mega Trends You Need To Know to Future-Proof Your Business at their annual Agritourism Convention & Expo, January 31-February 4 in Charleston, SC.