National Extension Tourism (NET): 2021 Conf. Proceedings

Agritourism Successes and Challenges: Results from a National Survey of Farms and Ranches Open to Visitors Claudia Schmidt , Pennsylvania State University, Lisa Chase , University of Vermont, Dave Lamie , Clemson University, Lori Dickes , Clemson University, Chadley Hollas , University of Vermont, me/


Agritourism – welcoming visitors on farms, ranches, and vineyards – is an important diversification strategy that can benefit farm families, drive rural economic growth, and leverage the tourism industry in rural areas (Thilmany et al., 2019; Barbieri, 2013). According to Chase et al.'s (2018) conceptual framework, agritourism activities fall into five overlapping categories: education, hospitality, outdoor recreation, entertainment, and direct sales of agricultural products. The core of agritourism is on-farm experiences and product sales deeply connected to agriculture. Peripheral activities that are sometimes defined as agritourism and sometimes not, include off-farm experiences and direct sales as well as on-farm experiences that are not connected to agriculture. Most practitioners and researchers seem to agree on the definitional core of agritourism, but the peripheral activities can lead to disagreement and controversy in agritourism research (Lamie, et al. 2021) and in regulating agritourism activities at the State and local government levels. Along with agreement on the definition of agritourism, a better understanding is needed of factors contributing to agritourism operators' successes and challenges. To that end, a multi-state team of collaborating Extension colleagues recently conducted applied research to benefit agritourism operators and their communities.


Beginning with interpretive inquiry, the researchers conducted 23 semi- structured interviews with farmers and ranchers from Vermont, California, Oregon, West Virginia, and Minnesota in the spring of 2019. These states were

2021 NET Conference Proceedings


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