Welcome to My Farm Agri-tourism at its Best 17 Ways to Make Money From Your Farm
The word ‘agri-tourism’ is a word coined by the agricultural (farming) industry to define what takes place when someone experiences the happenings of a particular farm by way of visiting and possibly participating in the workings of that farm. It’s a form of educational entertainment. There’s something else you need to know about agri-tourism, though…well, actually two something’s: 1) agri-tourism can work for almost every farm in some way, shape or form. 2) agri-tourism is virtually limitless but requires you to think outside the box and beyond the normal mindset and perceptions of what farming is. Oh, yes, and one more thing…agri-tourism can be the way in which you financially enhance your farm’s profitability.
Chapter 1 How to Use this Book This book is meant to be multi-purposeful. It is meant to: 1-Spark your creative juices in order for you to make your farm more profitable. Within the next several pages you will find a number of ways to utilize your resources to bring knowledge, entertainment and goods and services to the public. 2-Provide you with answers to most of your questions regarding the technical end of agri-tourism. We will cover such topics as insurance, liability, bookkeeping, licensing and permits and more—you know, the ‘fun’ stuff. Income Expense-type Date Amount 3-Offer advice in regards to where to go for help in starting and promoting your agri-tourism venture. Getting off to a positive start saves stress, time, money and energy. And once you’ve gotten started, your success largely depends upon how good you are at letting people know what you have to offer. Marketing can be fun and it must be done. NOTE: This book is not meant to serve as legal counsel or as a substitute for professional tax preparation and filing laws and regulations, but rather as an informational guide.
Chapter 2: The List This chapter is about as straight-forward as it comes. It consists of a list of agricultural (and some not-so-agricultural) ventures and how YOU can put an agri-tourism spin on them. FYI: Some of what you read can and does fall under the concept of value-added agriculture as well as agri-tourism. But that’s a subject for another book. Oh, yah, we’ve already written that one (***INSERT NAME OF VALUE-ADDED BOOK HERE) Bee keeping— While you will not be able to maintain and support an agri-tourism business with one or two hives, you don’t need to have more than a half-dozen to successfully operate a small to mid-sized agri-tourism business.
Bees working in the hive
As a beekeeper, you can invite people onto your location to observe the workings of the bees, to learn via ‘artificial’ hives how honey is made (the overall process) and they can work with beeswax or create honey straws or other edible or useful products. And as is the case with EVERY agri-tourism business, there needs to be an educational element for children; coloring pages, puzzles, worksheets, etc.
Beef cattle producer— Farmers whose primary focus is on the beef industry will find that their best choices for agri-tourism will be found in the areas of farm tours and educational stations (especially for children). These could include touring the barn, learning what tools are required for working with cattle (working chutes, ear taggers, scales, etc.) and also models of beef carcasses to learn how and why meat is graded.
Berry /nut farming— The possibilities of agri-tourism when it comes to nuts and berries is nearly limitless. U-pick operations are the obvious choices, but don’t let your vision stop there. A kitchen devoted to teaching people to make jams and jellies, nut butters and nut candies is also wellreceived by people wishing to learn something new.
Fresh-picked Raspberries and Blackberries
Chicken/turkey producer— It never ceases to amaze me that so many children (and even adults) don’t know where their food comes from. They just assume it magically appears on the shelves of your local grocery store or super store. So when you raise any form of livestock, you have both the opportunity and responsibility to let people know that the saying, “No farms...no food” is true. Providing the experience of seeing an incubator full of eggs, clipping wings, sexing chicks, gathering eggs and seasonal experiences such as THE Easter event of the region…a HUGE egg hunt (or private hunts for groups) complete with egg decorating. A quality digital camera and a few chicks against a simple backdrop will also make you popular with parents who want pictures of their children in this type of setting. As for the educational element, you can offer egg recipes, chicken recipes and worksheets and coloring sheets for kids. If you prefer to talk turkey, having seminars on how to cook turkey will always be popular. Last but not least, never underestimate the power of offering group tours through your poultry barns; tours that show and tell the process from hatched egg to being market-ready.
Agri-tourism can and should be a rewarding experience for everyone. And it will be as long as you take the necessary steps to protect yourself, your guests, your property and your livestock. Agri-tourism is also the key to ensuring that farming retains its rightful place at the top of the list of what’s important to the health, well-being and continuation of society. So with that being said, get out there and show the world how much you enjoy being who you are…an American Farmer.
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