According to the 2012 Ag Census, just over 33,000 farms (1.5% of the 2 million US farms) offered agritourism and recreational services such as farm or winery tours, hayrides, hunting, and fishing, totaling  $704 million in tourism activity for the US.  This project will explore what factors influence the growth of agritourism activity in the Western US, to help spur even greater momentum in the region using a variety of activities including:

  • Traveler research to explore the perceptions and preferences of agritourism-oriented travelers to the Western US
  • Conduct a spatial analysis of factors that may influence agritourism activity differently across Western states due to place-based factors (amenities, proximity to urban areas, regulatory environment, key economic activity)
  • Use targeted surveying and case studies of agritourism operations focused on the opportunities and barriers that may impact potential business viability
    • Better understand how innovations by operators encourages first-time, local and destination agritourists
  • Building on identified opportunities to expand consumer agritourism experiences and cultivate profitable agritourism enterprises
    • Develop and deliver outcome-based educational programs for farmers and ranchers, and extension educators
    • Focus on key marketing, management and alliance strategies
    • Create curriculum for undergraduate and graduate students.



Linkages between the Project and other Key Public Issues

  • Food Systems-consumers engaging with their food system….at the source!
  • Conservation and Natural Resource Activity-exploring the interface between Western agriculture, wildlife and natural beauty
  • Economic and Community Development-leveraging the value travelers place on unique experiences.

What Analyses and Engagement Can Help us Learn?

  • Traveler and consumer behavior and preferences
  • Addressing opportunities and barriers to innovative operators
  • Enterprise evaluation through benchmarking and management studies
  • Spatial and community aspects of agritourism

The Unique Aspect of Western Places

  • The West is Unique because of the Unique Aesthetics, Cowboy Heritage and West Coast Food Culture
  • High Share of National Parks, Forests and UNESCO Heritage Sites
  • Key Areas of Innovation and Entrepreneurs

AFRI # 2014-68006-21842