16. Reasons to diversify with agritourism

Agritourism is the fastest growing segment of revenue for small farms in America (according to the USDA). People want to pay for experiences, and are looking for new things to do on the weekend.

Help meet their needs while simultaneously increasing your farm revenue - with Agritourism
This online resource will teach you how.

Reasons to Diversify with Agritourism

You’ve heard it said, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” There’s a reason the saying is so popular. The reason is that you never want to put all your focus in just one area. Whether it’s in agritourism or any other business, you never want to have single-vision because you put yourself in a vulnerable position when you do so. If you are exclusively a fruit farm in Florida and you suffer a horrible freeze in the winter that prevents your trees from bearing fruit in the spring, it’s a lifesaver if you also have alpacas and goats that bring in tourists.

Diversification can keep you from losing your shirt when Mother Nature throws a curve ball. It can also be your saving grace when the economy flips. If gas prices go up and few people are traveling, it’s great to have something of local interest such as a fresh produce market where community members come to shop on a regular basis. There is also the possibility that feed prices can go sky-high and your profit from your fiber animals is down. If you also have a maple farm or a pumpkin patch, you will be able to recover a portion of the loss.

Another thing diversifying can offer is the chance to double your money in good times. If it’s a great season for travel and your fruit farm business is flourishing with tourists, if you also have vegetables, you’ll see even more cash flow.

How Can I Diversify?

Diversification often comes from thinking outside the box. Here are some excellent ways that you can diversify:

  • Spread the love. Invite others to be part of your land. You can lease out a portion so that you always have the rent to fall back on or, in good times, you multiply your profits. If you are strictly into fiber animals and have land to spare, partner up with someone who specializes in crops. Visitors can experience your animals and all you have to offer then take a hayride over to the produce section to see how vegetables are grown and perhaps purchase from their open air market. Remember...think outside the box.
  • Expand your horizons. It is a good idea to do at least two totally different things on your land. For instance, if you have animals for one section, consider crops as a second endeavor. Or, you might offer fishing plus camping. Another thought is adding a bed and breakfast to your small animal petting zoo or crop-based farm.
  • Offer extras. One great way to diversify is to make your farm available for events. Is your farm a nice place to host a wedding or for a corporation to hold a picnic at? Think of possible scenarios where you can double up with those who are wanting a place to have an event and get the word out that your spot is available.
  • Go with the seasons. You sure don’t want to limit your business to one season. Think of the businesses that are affected when storm seasons produce devastating hurricanes or when springtime brings so much rain, a spring-based business gets rained out. Or, when there’s an early winter and pumpkin patches freeze. Incorporate the fall harvest, Christmas and all the seasons and holidays that you can into your agritourism endeavor.
  • Have a back-up plan. Think of all the things that could go wrong in your business and plan what you could do to prevent going under in the event that those things did happen. Do you live in an area that could experience an early freeze and your staple is pumpkins? Do you live in an area that is in danger of hurricanes or storms? Are you overly dependent on tourist who travel and if gas went up and tourists stayed home you would sink? Think of solutions to each problem that might engulf your business and come up with a Plan B. Put it in action so you are proactive rather than stuck out.
  • Couple up. Not only can you invite others to join your agritourism business by leasing some of your land and getting involved, you can actually have another business or several businesses come right where you are. Perhaps you have small animals but have someone next to the petting zoo or wool spinning exhibit to run a produce stand. You can collect a flat fee or a percent of their profits. If the price of grain goes up and you have trouble making ends meet due to feeding your animals, at least you will have your proceeds from the produce partner to help ease the pain. Food vendors and craft markets are good examples of coupling up with others to diversify your business.