The Growth of Agrotourism in California.
I choose for my assignment an article in the April/May 2011 California Agriculture Journal entitled “California Agrotourism operations and their economic potential are growing.” Being a native Californian and having experience working on farms in the central valley I am aware of the struggles many farmers have operating their farm. There is a very slim profit margin. There is an increase in regulations and permits that are required. Many farmers are looking at other ways to increase their profit. This article explained why many farmers, ranchers, and wineries are creating agrotourism profits on the side. It begins by defining what agrotourism is. Agrotourism includes any income generated activity on a working farm, ranch, vineyard, etc. A more rounded definition I found is “Agrotourism is generally defined as activities that include visiting a working farm or any agricultural, horticultural or agribusiness operation to enjoy, be educated or be involved in what is happening at that locale.Neither of these definition is not used by the USDA however. In fact, the USDA does not have a uniform definition or standard as to what constitutes agrotourism. In 2007, 2.4 million visitors to the state of California spent approximately 35 million dollars on agrotourism as reported by the agrotourism operators. This is up from 6.5 million spent in 2002. Revenues are expected to increase annually. The growth in the agrotourism industry over the last 10 years have increased the demand for a standardized definition of what constitutes agrotourism. In response to this need the UCCE Agricultural Tourism workshop convened a survey study team. There job was to “identify key areas that would enhance the general understanding of agrotourism in California”. They created surveys for operators to fill out. Questions ranged from products and services offered, advertising used, motivation, operations, employees and profitability....
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