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California farmers and ranchers hosted more than 2.4 million agricultural tourists in 2008, according to early results from California’s first statewide economic survey of agritourism operators.
The survey’s preliminary findings suggest agritourism can indeed be a profitable supplement to a farm or ranch business.
Most agritourism operators who responded to the survey reported their agritourism businesses generated some profit. A majority said they are planning to expand or diversify their agritourism offerings over the next five years.
In addition, 22 percent of agritourism operators reported more than $100,000 in agritourism receipts for 2008. Small farms made up more than two-thirds of the farms that reported offering agritourism.
University of California researchers first mailed questionnaires in January to nearly 2,000 potential agritourism operators in every California county. Of the 554 responses to the survey, 332 respondents said they currently offer agritourism activities on their farms or ranches.
The survey was conducted by a group of researchers from University of California Cooperative Extension and the UC Small Farm Program, with funding from the California Community Program.
The goals of the survey were measuring the economic impacts of agritourism and identifying major challenges faced by agritourism business owners, so that future University of California work can better address those needs. Further analysis of the data will examine topics such as which agritourism activities are the most profitable, jobs created by agritourism, and agritourism's impact on California's economy.
Interested in visiting a California farm or ranch? Visit CalAgTour.org
Looking for information about hosting agritourism on your farm or ranch? Visit our Agritourism web page.