Over the past 10 years farms are learning to diversify through incorporating agritourism, where farmers open their gates to tourists. Types of agritourism include corn mazes, pumpkin patches, hosting a farm dinner using local products, cutting down a Christmas tree on a farm, you-pick berry operations, wineries and educational farms to name a few.
But, before you decide that you want your farm to become a new stop for tourists, be sure you are ready for whatever might pop up. There are two questions you should answer when evaluating if agritourism is the right choice for your farm: Are you comfortable putting your farm and family on display and do you enjoy talking with all sorts of people? This type of farm venture isn’t for everyone – and research and all considerations should be accounted for.
The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center provides a great “first steps” for farmers evaluating an agritourism venture: 
• Contact State or Local Agritourism Organizations
• Understand Local and State Health and Safety Laws and Regulations
• Site Safety:  Consider physical site hazards including visitor activities and attractive nuisances such as farm equipment likely to attract children.
• Product:  Consider what you are selling or producing and any health or safety regulations or considerations.
• Employee related:  Know your employees and know what will be required onsite to safeguard their health and safety.
• Financial:  Consider current record-keeping, billing processes, assets and debts.
• Develop a Risk Management Plan
• Decide on the right type and amount of insurance coverage (Business/Product Liability)
• Consider using preventative measures like waivers or product warnings if warranted
• Write a business and marketing plan
For farmers beginning in agritourism it is important to keep in mind that you are selling an experience to each visitor, therefore you need to be able to communicate your farm operations and passion to the consumer. People today are three to four generations removed from the farm and through agritourism those generations are grasping the reality of the American farm once again.


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