Agritourism is an industry used by farmers to bring consumers to their farms in order to supplement their income. Agritourism activities that visitors may participate in include picking fruits, feeding animals and staying at Bed and Breakfast facilities. In the U.S., agritourism businesses are categorized by direct sales of the product or service to the final consumer. Examples include: stores on or near a farm that sell the farm’s products; farmers markets in which the farmers themselves sell their produce; U-pick activity where consumers can pick their own fruits and vegetables; and festivals where visitors can buy or eat products made by the farm.
One of the main objectives of the Ohio-Israel Agricultural Initiative is to strengthen the ties between Israeli and Ohio farmers. Rural development professionals from Ohio and Israel are interested in collaborating on mutual challenges and programs to benefit each other by sharing their respective experiences. Bracha Gal of Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture’s Extension Service and Dr. Yoav Gal of Tel Hai College, Israel were the two delegates who came from Israel to tour Ohio, learn about Ohio’s agritourism industry and how OSU extension is involved with this industry as well as to share their experience and knowledge of dealing with agritourism in Israel.
Gal wrote about her Agritourism tour of Ohio in the “Tayaron” Agritourism E-Newsletter. In her article, Gal describes her experiences on two Ohio farms. The first agritourism experience she discusses is a festival, attended by about 7,000 visitors, on the fish and seafood farm of Dave Smith. Smith’s farm hosts the festival where produce is cooked and sold to visitors. In addition, competing shrimp growers are invited to sell with Smith, share in the sales, and participate in the opportunity for the aquaculture sector to gain exposure and improve its image. Smith’s farm also participates in other forms of agritourism by having a store on the farm that sells its produce and a kitchen to cook food to be sold as well.
Next, Gal describes her visit to Rob Leeds’ farm where pumpkins and other crops are grown. During the months of September and October 30,000 people arrive at the farm in order to pick and purchase pumpkins. Other forms of agritourism that Leeds’ farm offers include: zip-line rides, slides, inflatable structures, catering services, and tractor tours, among others. During this visit, Gal asked Leeds what advice he would give to farmers who wish to open their own agritourism business. What she learned from Leeds was that passion, practicality, logic, steady growth, and the right paper-work are all necessary in order for a farm to have a successful agritourism business. At the end of her article, Gal thanked The Negev Foundation for helping to organize the visit. back to top