You may depend on your farm to earn a living. Even more than that, those in your community and elsewhere can benefit from the harvest your farm yields or the carefully crafted goods you sell.
However, beyond simple goods like wheat and corn, meat and milk, a homestead holds additional appeal to people interested in your special way of life. Some men and women from urban areas have never set foot on freshly tilled soil, touched an old tractor or mended a broken fence.
Therefore, the agritourism industry bloomed from a fascination with the rural parts of our country. Today, it exists as a broad commercial enterprise that entertains and educates visitors while earning farmers a secondary source of income to diversify their profits.
Bringing in agritourism is even more profitable in the beautiful fall season. Here are some ways to attract attention to your homestead and capitalize on this growing trend.
Distribute Advertising Materials
You have options when it comes to advertising the features of your farm. Whether you decide to purchase a website domain or develop print material, it’s crucial that you spread the word about your services. There many free or low-cost ways to get started, but for those with no expertise in the area, hiring a small firm can result in high returns.
Sit down with an expert and discuss what you’d like to see and how you want your homestead received. Their experience in the area will guide you through the murky waters of regulations and best practices. After determining how to make the most of your budget, choose what areas you want to target.
From there, post flyers, place brochures in the lobbies of businesses and consider producing a commercial to air on local television channels. A crucial first step toward earning a profit in the agritourism industry is by making your presence known — so thorough advertising is a wise investment.
Offer a Range of Activities
When people think of agritourism, they often consider its popularity in autumn. Hayrides and pumpkin patches are often a draw for people during October, but even so, a homestead is just as profitable in the spring, summer and winter months. A degree of flexibility opens up whole new vistas of opportunity.
For some couples, a farm represents the perfect location for a wedding. The options for seating arrangements are endless, and an open landscape is a beautiful backdrop for photographs of the bride and groom. If your homestead has historical value, it’ll attract an even higher number of visitors. Search tax records and research relevant history to find any intriguing story that will craft a meaningful destination for happy couples or photographers.
You can also adapt your farm to accommodate wine tastings, public fruit pickings, charitable fundraisers and petting zoos. The only limit is how much time and energy you’re willing to put into repurposing your property. From something as simple as a canning class to complex as a full-service bed-and-breakfast, you’ll get out of it what you put in — or in other words, you’ll reap what you sow.
All of this said, check your insurance policy to avoid any possible issues with coverage that might arise.
Participate in Local Festivals
To restate a vital fact, presence is everything. Unless people know your farm is more than a farm, they won’t consider it for any of the extra services you provide. That’s why it’s essential to participate in every local festival and market, putting forth an effort to spread your message.
Brand awareness is the key to a successful business model, and this is just as true of agritourism. When locals hear your pitch, word-of-mouth marketing will work in your favor. More than that, you’ll get to see your product appreciated and meet the good folk who make your job possible.
This is where the earlier preparation enters the equation. If you have access to advertising materials — flyers, brochures, leaflets, etcetera — a festival is the ideal time to distribute them. People are more receptive to marketing when it comes from a friendly face with fresh fruit and vegetables.
Stress the Educational Benefits
Both children and adults unfamiliar with the rural lifestyle stand to gain from a lesson on agriculture. Parents, in particular, will show interest in a tour of your grounds. They’ll want to reveal an important part of the country to their children that they’re either unaware of or underappreciate.
An educational tour doesn’t require you to change or rearrange any part of your property. Implementing regular sessions into your schedule is a low-cost, added bonus. If you find time in your routine and enough interested people, you could hypothetically teach a brief lesson every day.
Alongside their primary responsibility of providing produce for hungry Americans, farmers have a secondary responsibility to educate the public on the significance of agriculture. It’s a valuable service, and the generations you teach will define the way people see your trade.
Bring in Agritourism This Fall (And Beyond)
If you aren’t investing in agritourism, you’re not realizing the full potential of your homestead. Follow the advice detailed here to engage with your community while turning a substantial profit. Future security begins with smart diversification today.