The State Ag and Rural Leaders group was formed in 2006 at the 5th Annual Legislative Ag Chairs Summit in Tempe, Arizona. The first Legislative Ag Chairs Summit was in Dallas in 2002.
By Brad Buck
Many farmers are incorporating tourism into their operations to draw visitors and earn an alternate source of income. If you’re interested in establishing an agritourism business, you can now register for and attend a workshop scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 14 on Zoom.
Luis Rodriguez and Allie Williams, the agriculture agents for UF/IFAS Extension Polk and Hillsborough counties, respectively, will host the workshop.
• Laws and regulations of agritourism in Florida.
• Cottage food and winery laws.
• Florida Agritourism Association.
“Farmers are increasingly interested in agritourism as a secondary source of revenue,” Rodriguez said. “I want the participants to understand the Florida Agritourism law, how they can implement agritourism within their farm, what activities are considered agritourism and what resources are available for them.”
Rodriguez and Williams work with small farmers in their respective counties. Additionally, the two agents attended the Florida Agritourism Association Conference in July, where they met people who incorporate tourism into their agricultural operations.
“The small-scale producers often look for additional revenue sources to support the farm, and with agritourism a hot topic, we decided to offer this workshop,” Williams said.
Florida is a natural location for agritourism as it marries the state’s two largest industries to provide an on-farm recreational experience for consumers.
According to this AskIFAS publication, agritourism provides many opportunities for people to learn about the origin of foods they eat. For example, school children come to farms for field trips. Agritourism can also benefit the environment and wildlife. Some types of agritourism include bird watching, wildlife viewing and fishing.
It allows the public to participate in activities that involve:
• Special events, like venues for weddings and parties,
• Recreation such as hayrides or mazes,
• Entertainment, including festivals,
• Education, such as farm tours,
• Harvest-your-own activities (U-Pick).
“In my role, I work directly with small-scale farmers and livestock producers,” Williams said. “Some of these producers have brought up the idea of adding an agritourism component to their farm. I see agritourism as a way to share with others about agriculture and provide opportunities to understand the work that goes into growing their food.”