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My Focus...

"I want the family farm - the backbone of our country's heritage - to thrive and survive for future generations."

What is Agritourism?

Milburn Orchards, Elkton, Maryland is typical of the family fun agritourism destinationsAgritourism is basically where agriculture and tourism intersect, as farms and ranches invite the public onto their property to experience the out of doors, the leisure pace, and the healthy and nutritious produce that is only possible when it is fresh picked at the peak of perfection.

Agritourism, one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry, includes visits to working farms, ranches, wineries and agricultural industries. Agri-destinations offer a huge variety of entertainment, education, relaxation, outdoor adventures, shopping and dining experiences.

Where Can the Public Find Information about Farms and Ranches to Visit?

For listings of farms, ranches or wineries in the United States or Canada that are open to the public, just go to www.ruralbounty.com. Developed in 2008 by Jane Eckert, this is the very first comprehensive agritourism website ever created, combining all forms of agritourism recreation into a single website directory.

Where to Find Agritourism Products

Jane has also compiled an extensive list of vendors who provide products or services to the AgriTourism industry, which is now available to the public at no charge. Click here to see the Eckert AgriMarketing Buyer's Guide.

Definitions and Facts About Agritourism

What is Agritourism?

In simple terms, agritourism is the crossroads of tourism and agriculture: when the public visits working farms, ranches or wineries to buy products, enjoy entertainment, participate in activities, shop in a country store, eat a meal or make overnight stays.

Kids love the color, open space, fresh air and new experiences an agritourism trip to the farm allows.What fun activities can visitors do on a farm or ranch?

Visiting a farm, ranch or winery offers wonderful, unique experiences. Picking your own peaches or apples in a beautiful orchard, roping a calf or stomping grapes are just a few of the fun and fabulous activities waiting for you.

Why is Agritourism growing so fast?

People want a new experience - an escape from the stress of traffic jams, office cubicles and carpooling!Parents want their children to know how food is grown and that milk actually comes from a cow - not a carton! Families enjoy a drive to the country and spending the day together, especially in these times.

What is the emotional appeal of Agritourism?

Most of us have a farm somewhere on our family tree. Maybe our parents were raised on a farm, or we have fond memories of spending summers on our grandparents' farms. Agritourism rekindles the positive emotions from these family visits.

What are the travel trends that support the growth of Agritourism?

According to the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA):

  1. Tourists are increasingly traveling by cars
  2. Tourists are taking shorter trips & planning at the last minute
  3. Travelers are looking for new experiences as part of their trips, and
  4. Families want to strengthen their relationships by being together

Why do farmers participate in Agritourism?

Today, most family farms face serious economic challenges from foreign competition and large, corporate farms. Their earnings on commodities and livestock may not even cover production costs. But farmers who sell directly to the public - through fruit stands and farm country stores - and also add special activities for visitors, find they can continue farming and make a profit. Agritourism is actually saving thousands of small farms from extinction.

Jane Eckert grew up on the family Orchard, and wants to share the farm experience with every adult and child.Jane's Role in AgriTourism

Jane Eckert, principal of Eckert AgriMarketing, is a leading expert on agritourism. A farmer's daughter who pursued a successful career in corporate marketing, she eventually returned to her family's fruit orchard and helped develop it into a leading tourist destination attracting 400,000 visitors each year. Today, as a speaker and consultant, she helps farmers and tourism professionals reap the benefits of agritourism.