Burlington--Interest in pursuing agritourism opportunities is increasing among farmers and value-added producers in Vermont and other states as a means of enhancing farm viability and profits.

Many manage farm stands and pick-your-own operations. Others host on-farm suppers, farm stays, school field trips, public tours, outdoor recreation and harvest events, among other experiences.

To gauge the scope and impact of the industry nationwide, farmers throughout the country are being asked to participate in a short survey for a study led by the University of Vermont. The data will be used by cooperative extension and research personnel to develop resources to help increase the success of small- and medium-sized farms that offer on-farm direct sales, education, hospitality, recreation, entertainment and other types of agritourism.

The survey, which will take about 10-15 minutes to complete, is available online at go.uvm.edu/agritourismsurvey. All responses will be kept confidential, and participants may opt out of answering survey questions at any time.

In addition to demographic and farm information, the survey will collect data on direct sales and agritourism experiences offered, visitor numbers and goals, successes, challenges and future plans for agritourism. Farmers also will be able to provide input on the types of support needed to achieve success with agritourism including on-farm direct sales.

This multi-state survey and research project is being coordinated by Extension Professor Lisa Chase and Associate Professor David Conner, both with the University of Vermont, and funded through a Critical Agriculture Research and Extension grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Collaborators include research and cooperative extension faculty in California, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon and West Virginia.

For questions regarding the survey, contact Lisa Chase at lisa.chase@uvm.edu or (802) 257-7967, ext. 311.


Lisa Cheryl Chase