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Agritourism ideas for making money and providing fun eric barrett osu extension l.jpg

Agritourism: ideas for making money and providing fun!

Eric Barrett – OSU Extension

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Our Agenda

  • Stages of retail agriculture

  • The concept of agritourism

  • Your family & mission

  • Keys to profitability

  • Trends to watch

  • Activities to evaluate

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Stages of Retail Agriculture

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Stages of Retail Agriculture

  • Level 1

    • Simple – roadside stand, being a good grower, maybe a small school tour – mostly no interaction w/customer

  • Level 2

    • Intermediate – PYO, Wagon rides, Corn mazes, festivals, shopping, animal areas, prepared foods

  • Level 3

    • Complex & Sophisticated (many will never reach this level) – Major shopping, full service restaurant, permanent restrooms, paved parking

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  • With that in mind, what can you do on your farm to make money?

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The Concept of Agritourism

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  • Agritourism: Getting the public closer to agriculture through on-farm experiences.

  • If this is agritourism in general—what is the mission of your farm? Why do you exist?

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Your Family & Mission

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  • Farm theme park or educational farm?

  • Family run or many employees?

  • Part-time or full-time?

  • Seasonal?

  • Grow it all – or buy it?

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Keys to Profitability

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Some keys to profitability

  • Stay true to your mission

  • Know your limits

  • Be know as GREAT

  • Be a destination

  • Extend your season(s)

  • Grandparent market for tours

  • Family market for local foods

  • Price to make a profit

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Trends to Watch

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Marketing is…

Anything you do that increase the perceived value of your product

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Somewhat our grandparent’s ag!

…with a twist!!

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Shopping with the Farmer

  • Tomatoes that have not been shipped 2,000+ miles

  • Tomatoes that taste flavorful – not hard and rubbery

  • Tomatoes that split and dent when you drop them


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Trends - The Food Channel

  • Home on the Range --Downsized economy breeds new generation of home chefs – but more savvy

  • Foodie 2.0 --Growth of virtual and non-virtual food communities

  • Going, Going Green --Kitchens go eco-conscious

  • Living La Vida Locavore --Eating locally/seasonally – home & away

  • TMI? – Calorie Counts on menus

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  • FrankenFood -- The rise of bioengineering and genetically modified

  • Food Philanthropy -- Individuals & companies address world hunger

  • Food Insecurity -- The call for tighter food controls – food safety! GAPs

  • Brewing Business --The divide widens between the ‘wants’ and day-to-day food needs

  • Where in the World ... -- is the next flavor trend coming from?

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taking these to the farm…

  • cooking/canning/preserving help

  • offer seconds for preservations

  • sell comfort foods and small portion meals

  • veggies & berries

  • food safety

  • tout the healthfulness

  • natural, local and other key marketing words

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grandparent market

  • generations removed

    • today’s public cannot “feel” their grandparent’s experiences – thus, they don’t mean as much!

  • ag practices have changed

    • this is our challenge

    • what is a good image to project – old or new?

  • education should be our priority!?

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what do consumers want?

to understand agriculture?

  • Ag in the classroom

  • Farm Bureau, growers assns., etc.

  • 4-H & Extension

  • agritourism!

    • why not?

    • encourage near large farms?

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what are travelers looking for?

trends in travel

  • shorter trips

  • increasingly using cars to get there

  • planning at the last minute

  • looking for new experiences

  • strengthening family ties

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what are travelers looking for?

things experienced on trip

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the experience economy…

  • people will pay more for experience than product

  • want vs. need (all retail)

  • marketing farm products with an experience attached

    • -eliminates “commodities”

  • wal-mart struggles with providing an experience other than “convenient and cheap”

the world is a stage…

why sit and watch?

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implications for you

  • know who your customer is

  • pay attention to media

  • follow instincts

  • act like a retailer

  • browse retail publications



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Activities to Evaluate

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Top 10 Agritourism Opportunities

  • No particular order…

  • PYO

  • Educational Tours

  • Interactives - Mazes & Games

  • Local Foods

  • Cooking

  • Wineries

  • On-Farm bakeries & Coffee Shops

  • Farmers Markets

  • Specialty & Ethnic Veggies

  • Locally focused meats

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Some Evaluation Criteria

  • Fits mission

  • Manageable liability concerns

  • ‘Pencils’ out

  • Fun for customers in target market

  • Staff to manage activity?!

  • Length of season available

  • Potential customer base

  • Fun for you!

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  • One of the healthiest fresh foods

  • Tons of promotional materials available

  • We are good growers

  • Family experience

  • Berries, veggies, etc…

  • Overcoming the ‘grannies stocking up’ old paradigm for pyo

  • Charging enough

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Farm tours & activities

  • People long to be close to the farm

  • Grandparents

  • Alternative to non-interaction entertainment

  • Liability

  • Infrastructure

  • Mindset

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Farm Stays / Bed & Breakfasts

  • People will…

    • Volunteer to help you

    • Pay to work

    • Continue to love farmers

    • Want a different experience

    • Talk your ear off!

    • Ask lots of questions

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The internet and you…

  • the customers who really spend live here

  • they long to be somewhere else

  • sometimes we aren’t comfortable

  • still expensive to promote site

  • moving forward to texting & pda’s

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Contact me:

This presentation will be posted at:

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