It’s no secret that local farmers have been struggling to compete with massive food corporations for years. The dairy industry, in particular, experienced a massive decline in sales in 2019. It’s the biggest decline it experienced for more than fifteen years. Many consumers are more inclined to shop at a nearby Target, where they can buy fruits and a TV in one place. And if someone wants fresh produce and other gourmet food, then they would go to Whole Foods. Of course, there are still some consumers that liked to go to the farmers’ market. But a big drawback is that it doesn’t always have a fixed schedule, unlike commercial supermarkets.
Fortunately, as a local farmer, you can boost your business in other ways. You just have to get creative with it. So what’s the one thing that farms have that supermarkets don’t? The answer to that is the sheer experience of being on a farm with plants and animals. Consumers get to breathe in the fresh air, feel the earth in their hands, and learn about where their food comes from in a farm.
You can sell that experience to consumers. Give them a chance to live the farm life that you love so much. Here’s how you can start a farm stay and get a headstart in the agritourism industry.
The Agritourism Industry
Agritourism, simply put, is the marriage between agriculture and tourism. It’s a form of commercial enterprise where guests are invited to witness and experience agricultural practices. And they get to do these as a recreational activity where they can learn so much about plants and animals. Guests are invited to agricultural establishments such as farms and ranches.
Many people may not have heard of agritourism before. But you’ve all certainly experienced it in one way or another. It’s common for families with kids to go apple picking or pumpkin picking if it’s almost Halloween. They’ve also gone to petting zoos, and corn mazes. For adults alone, trips to Napa Valley for wine tasting and tours are also part of agritourism. To start building farm stay accommodations on your farm, here’s where you can start.
Investing in Equipment and Renovations
The first thing that you should worry about is the appearance of your farm. Is it appealing to guests? Does it invite recreation and relaxation? If not, then you’ll need to work on that. Start with investing in the proper equipment to keep your farm in top shape. Don’t be afraid to shell out some money for suppliers such as NC Equipment. It’ll go a long way for you.
The next thing you have to think about is the lodging space. Do you have a place in your farm where your guests can stay for a night or two? If no, then this is your next big investment. Construction and interior design will cost you a lot of money as well. But they’ll pay off because you’re doing this for the guests’ comfort.
Fun Activities with Plants and Animals
Once you have everything you need for the lodging, the next thing you’ll have to consider is how to keep your guests entertained and occupied. What are the interactive events that they can participate in?
You can offer horse riding services. You can invite them to feed chickens, milk cows, fishing, and even beekeeping. It all depends on what you have on your farm. You can also conduct some of your activities based on the season. If it’s summertime, you can invite guests to strawberry or apple picking. If it’s fall season, you can invite them to pumpkin picking. You can even host pumpkin decorating contests on Halloween night. The possibilities are endless.
Recreational and Educational Experience
You could say that this is your biggest advantage. Through interactive activities on the farm, you are turning fun experiences into educational experiences as well. Educate your guests about where their food comes from. Teach them about sustainability by showing the value of living with nature. You can show them how to build a conscious relationship with it.
This is also your opportunity to promote local businesses and help the economy of towns and communities. Farm stays, in particular, boost local tourism. It attracts people from the city. It encourages them to take a break for a few days in the countryside.
Agritourism helps farmers and other business people in agriculture by proving extra income. But it also does so much more than that. It shows guests, especially those who are from urban areas, the value of local farming, and other local businesses. By offering farm stay accommodations, this is your chance to show guests the strong communities that form from farming.