Recreational property can be used for a multitude of purposes: hunting, fishing, water sports, hiking, camping and off-roading are some of the more common ones. Land that is not suitable for crops can be desirable for many other uses.
We have seen a trend toward more attention to agricultural tourism, or agritourism, as people are looking to reconnect with their families away from technology. Sports like rock climbing and mountain biking have grown dramatically in recent decades, and at Halderman, we believe smart land management can increase the revenue potential for farms through recreational uses.
Recreational uses for land are growing
Farms and farmland are not just for growing crops. In our experience, landowners and farmers are diversifying their operations to include agricultural tourism. Defined broadly as any activity on a working ranch, farm or agricultural facility that generates supplemental and or alternative income for an owner or farmer, agritourism is growing and diversifying in the U.S. It's a subcategory of rural tourism, which broadly refers to tourism that occurs in non-urban or suburban locations and in many instances, like fishing and hunting camps, uses the land for one particular purpose.
We know that classic sporting activities like hunting, fishing and camping are popular, but we also see activities such as wine tasting, cooking classes, farm stays and u-pick operations gaining favor with the public. Farmland is ideal for active recreation as well; pursuits like skiing, snowmobiling, horseback riding and skeet shooting require large open areas.
Farms across the U.S. are maximizing revenue and tourism opportunities through seasonal agritourism offerings. Pumpkin patch rides and apple picking are immensely popular during the fall, and dude ranch experiences are popular during the summer vacation months. Creative endeavors have grown to include pig races, apple cannons and vinegar-making.
If you're considering adding an agritourism experience to your property, the website of your local agricultural campus or any number of commercial sites can be an excellent source of ideas. Leading agricultural schools offer campus and extramural programs for landowners, farmers and individuals who are curious about offering recreational activities to the public and bringing tourism to their land.
Growing agritourism benefits farmers and the public
Representing just 3.8% of the farm economy sector, agritourism is growing in many states. In our experience, there five distinct subsectors of agritourism: direct farm sales, education, hospitality, entertainment and outdoor recreation. Data has shown that over 70% of farmers who participate in agritourism have increased their revenue.
Connecting people with farms seems to be a win for both farmers and the public. Integrating a recreational or agritourism element into your farmland, particularly for land that is not conducive to growing crops, is smart land management and can be an important source of income.
Recreational uses also provide a diversified revenue stream, potentially reducing your reliance on a small number of crops for the entirety of your farm's revenue.
At Halderman Real Estate & Farm Management, we provide sound strategies for enhancing farmland revenue that have served landowners and land managers for generations. Contact us for answers to your questions about recreational property and farm management.