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Agritourism Farms in the Triangle: Case Studies
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Hay rides at Gross Farms, Lee County. Source: http://www.grossfarms.com/hayrides.html




What is this?


A study of Agritourism farms was conducted to gain a better understanding of the importance of Agritourism income to farms in the Triangle. A single farm was chosen to represent each county due to limited time and resources. A brief survey was sent to the farmers with questions about the year Agritourism operations started, activities offered on the farm, seasons of operation, as well as visitation rates and estimated percentage of Agritourism income from 2000 to 2009.


Why is this important?


There is currently no database for information regarding the importance of Agritourism income for farms in the Triangle. Therefore, a case study was undertaken to address this data gap and to provide examples of the kinds of operations and income streams for farms in the region.


What does this measure show?



Table 1. Case Studies of Agritourism Farms in the Triangle

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Table 1 shows the year Agritourism operation started, seasons of operaton, and activities offered, on the six farms representing each of the six counties in the Triangle. Most farms began Agritourism operations in the past 15 years offering several types of activities throughout the year. All five farmers who provided information on Agritourism income, had experienced an increase in farm income after incorporating Agritourism operations.


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Genesis Farm School, Orange County. Source: http://www.genesisfarmnc.com/summercamp.html
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Figure 1. Estimated Percentage of Income from Agritourism


The estimated income from Agritourim operation for two of these farms is shown in Figure 1. In addition, the estimated percentage of income from Agritourism had increased over time for all five farms. Among these farms, the estimated percentage of Agritourism income ranged from 20 to 100 percent. Indeed, one farm reported that currently all of its income comes from Agritourism.




Limitations and further research

Due to heterogeneity of farms surrounding the time of operation, the nature of Agritourism activities, and possible difficulties in understanding the terminology used in the survey, the results present a great deal of variation. In addition, many Agritourism operators were very reluctant to share business information, leading to an absence of data.

A comprehensive study of Agritourism in the Triangle is needed to provide information about its significance for the economy at large as well as the demand for Agritourism opportunities. For the purposes of this study, we were only able to request an estimation of the percentage of Agritourism income. A more accurate indicator would be the percentage of Agritourism income from total annual gross income
.




Author:
Elina Inkiläinen

Reviewers: Tandy Jones, TLC; Dr. Nancy Creamer, NCSU



Technical notes



The farms were selected for the case study from the directory of Agritourism farms compiled by the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Agritourism Division.
Martha Glass, Manager of Agritourism Office, was instrumental in facilitating this study.
The survey was conducted in March-April 2010 via email and phone. The survey form is found here: AgritourismSurvey.docx. Spreadsheet with data: Estimated Percentage of Income.xlsx