Agritourism is an area that has been growing for many years. On our farm, we hosted many events, including:
- farm dinners with award-winning chefs
- whole hog butchering classes
- Thanksgving turkey butchering classes
- cheesemaking classes
- farm tours
- farm schools, and more.
Can you not imagine a soon-to-be-married couple wanting to have their wedding overlooking your beautiful pastures, ponds, and happy animals? I can, and they will pay well for it, because competitive alternatives also charge good money for the service. But ask yourself if this is a one-time, seasonal or continuous opportunity? Perhaps it is seasonal, but you could use the same facilities for corporate retreats and other events as well.
What about a farm-stay bed and breakfast in your home or in a refurbished barn? Sounds quaint, romantic, and what a lot of people would be in the mood for, does it not?
If you don’t want to use your house, you can always provide a glamour camping (glamping) experience instead. It could be a yurt, tee pee or the wall tents that are offered at Mary Jane’s Farm bed and breakfast… for $240 per night. Remember that when economic conditions are soft, they are not necessarily soft for everyone, as wealthy folks generally do just fine and retain plenty of disposable income.
Mary Jane’s Farm is not the only one catering to these well-to-do customers. The Martyn House, an 18-acre restored homestead just over an hour north of Atlanta, offers upscale glamping in wall tents as well as event facility rentals, farm dinners, a bed and breakfast, and weddings. Heck, they will even rent the entire farm if someone wants it!
If these ideas are too upscale for you, then consider setting up a permanent tent camping area and facilities on your land. Jinny Cleland did just that at Four Springs Farm on her Vermont farm, where she also offers event rentals, baked goods, catering, poultry, fruits, vegetables, and much more.
If you don’t want guests staying overnight, then you could consider farm dinners. These outings normally feature local chefs and offer the advantage of introducing paying customers to other products or services you have available.
For example, Green Dirt Farm in Missouri has a series of farm dinners and cheese appreciation events throughout the year. The cheese appreciation events are $50 per person and the 11 farm dinners per year, limited to 30 people each, all sell out at a price of $170 per person. That works out to $5,100 in revenue per dinner, or just over $56,000 per year just for the dinners. The cheese appreciation events can generate another $15,000 in sales.
To be sure, there are expenses to offset this for food, chefs, and marketing, but this is a very nice ancillary business to their main business of producing fantastic farmstead sheep’s milk cheese. Of course, their location being only 30 minutes from Kansas City ensures they have a base of customers to whom they can market, as well as chefs upon whom they can rely, but the point is for you to consider proximity to markets before you purchase land if this is something that interests you.
A few other agritourism options include:
- RV/tent farm camping,
- summer youth farm camps,
- pond fishing,
- corn mazes,
- Easter egg hunts in the spring,
- haunted woods in the fall, etc.
There are lots of ways you can make money homesteading and farming, and agritourism may be a great fit for your farm or homestead.