livestock farmOnce an almost negligible revenue stream for the farming industry, agritourism in America is on the rise. Traditionally, wineries dominated agritourism. Now everything from livestock to beet farms are courting suburban and urban families, and revenue is increasing.

Agritourism revenue outside the winery business has more than tripled since 2002, now approaching a billion dollar industry, according to Census of Agriculture. For farmers, agritourism takes many possible forms. Opening food stands or small delis allow direct to consumer opportunities popular in the fruit, nut or grape trades. Others go the route of bed and breakfasts or guided tours where visitors can pick their own food. Specialty livestock farms set aside areas as petting zoos where children can interact with animals.

For farm owners agritourism provides new opportunities for branding. Gift shops that sell branded apparel and novelty items are becoming common. The Census of Agriculture also reports that women and older farm owners are more likely to extend their businesses into agritourism.

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