Down on the Farm: Attracting Customers to your Products through Agritourism and On-farm Sales
By Cole Cottin
Agritourism is a growing form of niche marketing that, in its broadest definition, involves any agriculture-based activity that brings visitors to a farm. In the five years between 2002 and 2007, the average revenue of agritourism enterprises in Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska increased by almost 260%, and there is plenty of room for this under-utilized niche market to grow, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In 2007, Kansas passed the Agritourism Promotion Act to encourage Kansas farmers to get involved in agritourism. The law limits the liability of agritourism operators and aids them in marketing. Farm stands and pick-your-own operations represent two major agritourism activities that lead to the sale of farm products, but there are many other ways to generate income through drawing customers to the farm (see link below for more exampes).
Farm visitors are drawn to the opportunity for entertainment, recreation, and involvement in local agriculture. Agritourism activities can be educational, helping visitors gain exposure to farm life to better understand what food production entails. On-farm purchases enable customers to access fresh products from a source they trust.
For an extensive list of possible agritourism activities as well as a number of charts highlighting the benefits, challenges, strategies and resources for marketing through agritourism, CLICK HERE to print or download the Kansas Rural Center’s resource document ‘Marketing Strategies: Agritourism & On-farm Sales‘.
This resource document is an excerpt from Finding Your Niche, A Marketing Guide for Kansas Farms, published in January 2013 by the Kansas Rural Center. You may CLICK HERE to view the guide’s full Table of Contents and print or download other resource documents. Finding Your Niche: A Marketing Guide for Kansas Farms offers a great starting point for envisioning the potential your farm has to increase and respond to local demand.
To receive a printed and bound copy of the 200+ page guide, please order here or contact the Kansas Rural Center at 785-873-3431. A limited number of copies are available for a suggested fee of $25 to help cover printing, shipping and handling costs.