Partners include the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture, the Tennessee Agritourism Association, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Farm Credit Mid America and the Tennessee Farm Bureau

Supporters of Agritourism study
Representatives of groups supporting the 2013 Tennessee Agritourism Survey recently met at the offices of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation in Columbia. Organizations included Farm Credit Mid America, Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation and the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture. Shown from left to right, front row, are Mark Wilson (FCMA), Megan Bruch and Rob Holland (UT-CPA), and, back row, Mike Estes (FCMA), Lacy Upchurch and Joe Pearson (TFBF) and Matt Neal (FCMA).  Download photo.

Additional photo, click here: Folks attending the recent Agritourism Extravaganza at Fender Farms in Johnson City, Tenn., paused to recognize the importance of the upcoming agritourism study. Left to right, bottom row: Megan Bruch (UT Center for Profitable Agriculture); Carroll Fender (Fender Farms), Pamela Bartholomew (Tennessee Department of Agriculture); back row, Tonya Keller (Tennessee Agritourism Association); Brant Crowder (Tennessee Agritourism Association); and Lou Nemeth (Agritourism Extravaganza participant).
           

SPRING HILL, Tenn. – Agritourism may be better known by the general public as a trip to Christmas tree farm, corn maze or pick-your-own strawberry patch, but for farmers, agritourism is a method to add value to farm resources, generate additional revenues, sustain farms and enhance rural economies. Megan Bruch, marketing specialist with the University of Tennessee Extension’s Center for Profitable Agriculture, says that farmers involved in agritourism are like any other business CEOs; they need up-to-date information to make the best business decisions possible for their operations.
 
To obtain a more current view of agritourism in Tennessee, several organizations are collaborating on a study of the state’s agritourism businesses.  “We are in the process of conducting a survey of agritourism operations throughout the state to gather data and create a new snapshot of Tennessee agritourism,” said Rob Holland, director of the Center for Profitable Agriculture. “This study would not have been possible without the support and collaboration of industry partners including the Tennessee Agritourism Association, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Farm Credit Mid America and the Tennessee Farm Bureau,” he said.
 
The study is being conducted by UT Extension specialists and researchers in the Center for Profitable Agriculture and the UT Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. The study will provide a report of the current state of Tennessee agritourism as well as implications and conclusions for the industry’s future.  It will also provide data that will be used in future educational outreach programs offered by the center.  “An accurate view of the ‘state of the industry’ will allow individual businesses to make informed decisions in their planning and development and it will help state and industry leaders with policy development and resource allocation,” Holland said.
 
Bruch agrees. “The last in-depth study of Tennessee agritourism was conducted almost 10 years ago. That study found that the 325 agritourism operations surveyed generated $21 million in total sales. Much has changed since then, and a new study will provide a current view of the size, scope and impact of agritourism in Tennessee. It will also offer an updated view of needs farmers may have for education and other services,” she said. Results of the study will be posted on the center’s website when available at https://ag.tennessee.edu/cpa
 
The UT Center for Profitable Agriculture is a joint effort of UT Extension and the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. The center supports the efforts of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels.

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Contact: 
 
Rob Holland, 931-486-2777,
rwholland@utk.edu