Help meet their needs while simultaneously increasing your farm revenue - with Agritourism
This online resource will teach you how.
Is Agritourism right for you?
If you’ve been sewing the idea of starting an agritourism on your back forty, you are in luck. There are many rewards to be reaped in doing so. But, don’t count your chickens before they hatch. There are some measures you’ll need to take before putting your plan into action. Let’s take a look:
Ideas are born out of inspiration. In order to follow an idea from its birth to completion, you will need to fuel the fire with passion. If you are fully enthused and motivated to carry the concept of agritourism from being just a good idea to becoming a reality, you very well may have what it takes to grow a business in agritourism.
Ingenious and Inspirational Ideas
If you are gun-hoe on the idea of turning your land into a place that tourists can enjoy, but are quite sure exactly what that would entail, here are some thoughts to help spur your own creative ideas:
- Pumpkin Patches
- Petting Zoo
- Homegrown Food Sampling
- Country Crafting
- Berry or Fruit Picking
- A Day of Life on the Farm
- Corn Mazes
- Wine Tasting
- Cow Milking
The concept of agritourism is loaded with positive benefits. People are willing to pay to experience life on the farm on many different levels such as those listed above. The extra income it would add to your farming business is certainly a plus. In the event that you have land that is not even being used, argritourism would turn it into a profit rather than it sitting idle. With times being increasingly tough for farmers, turning your farm into a hotspot for tourists and visitors might be your best cash crop to date.
For those of you who are into going for the gold, why not talk to neighbors and see if any of them are on board for agritourism. If they are, rather than competing, you might join together as a team and start collaboration such as a farm trail attraction. The sky is the limit and the more creative you get, the greater your chances for success will be.
Getting Down to the Nitty Gritty
Now that you have some valuable information to chew on, there are some suggested steps you can take to determine if agritourism is really a possible reality for you. The following will help you in your considerations:
- Do you (or a family member) have abilities and goals that are conducive to the concept?
- Are your family members on board with the idea?
- Are you willing to invest the time and money it will take to start and run such a business?
- Does the thought of the new endeavor excite you and spur your enthusiasm?
- Do you believe your land has something to offer the public?
- Are you willing to take the risk of starting up a business?
- Do you, or does a family member, enjoy meeting people and planning activities?
Plan of Action
If after going over the questions above, you still feel like agritourism is right for you, then it’s time to make a plan. You will want to decide what it is you are going to offer the public. Then, you will want to go over every detail of what it will entail to do so. List every single thing that will need to be done in order to bring your idea into a completed project.
Have someone who you trust as a business professional or advisor go over your plan with you. Listen to their advice and words of wisdom. Be sure all areas are covered completely.
You will then need to visit or call your local tourism office or extension. Be sure to work closely with them for they will become your go-to when it comes to advice and even advertising. Check with them to see if you have left any stones uncovered and if so, attend to those things immediately.
You will want to establish a launch date for your activity. Don’t worry if it gets pushed back a time or two due to unforeseen situations beyond your control. Once you get a date that is concrete, be sure to advertise it. Getting your business out there for the public to see is more important than making an initial profit so spend as much as is necessary and offer opening day bargains too. The only way you’ll be able to make money is for the public to know about your business.
Another idea is planning a soft opening. A soft opening is basically a small-scale activity that is more for practice than anything else. You might offer hayrides or pumpkin picking one day just to treat the public to a fun time and to get a firsthand glimpse at what is really in store for you and to see how prepared you are for it. If you do so, be sure to get visitor’s feedback so you can improve any areas that need it.
The Customers’ Best Interest
You may find that your customers’ interests vary from your own in some areas. Maybe you planned that apple picking would be the highlight of your farm, but your customers are preferring the corn maze. Then, by all means, pump up the maze and put more focus on it. Let your customers dictate what will and will not go over on your place and don’t buck them, learn from them. If you are selling soaps and candles on your farm and your customers would rather learn to make them than to purchase the items from you, give them what they want. If you take care of your customers, they will take care of you too.