- Author: Penny Leff
From winery tasting rooms to pumpkin patches, apple picking and goat yoga, California farmers and ranchers are leaders and innovators in agritourism, utilizing tradition and creativity as they invite the public to visit and experience rural life. They mange farm stands, host on-farm dinners, offer school field trips, public tours, festivals, classes, on-farm lodging and guest ranches, outdoor recreation and multiple other experiences to diversify income and connect with their own communities and visitors from far away.
All Calilfornia agritourism operators are are invited and encouraged to take part in a national survey about agritourism and direct sales.
The survey is at: tinyurl.com/agritourismsurvey
The UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (UC SAREP), a statewide program of UC ANR, is collaborating with the University of Vermont and others to gauge the scope and impact of the industry nationwide. Farmers and ranchers throughout the country are being asked to participate in the short survey for a study led by the University of Vermont. The data will be used by cooperative extension and research personnel to develop resources to help increase the success of small and medium-sized farms and ranches that offer on-farm direct sales, education, hospitality, recreation, entertainment and other types of agritourism.
The survey, which will take about 10-15 minutes to complete, is available online at tinyurl.com/agritourismsurvey. All responses will be kept confidential, and participants may opt out of answering survey questions at any time.
Leaders of California's many farm trails and agritourism associations are encouraged to share the link to this survey with their members to ensure that California is well represented in this important national study.
In addition to demographic and farm information, the survey will collect data on direct sales and agritourism experiences offered, visitor numbers and goals, successes, challenges and future plans for agritourism. Farmers also will be able to provide input on the types of support needed to achieve success with agritourism including on-farm direct sales.
This multi-state survey and research project is being coordinated by Extension Professor Lisa Chase and Associate Professor David Conner, both with the University of Vermont, and funded through a Critical Agriculture Research and Extension grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Collaborators include research and cooperative extension faculty in California, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon and West Virginia.