Conducting farm and ranch tours
I enjoy going out to farms and learning about crop production, raising livestock, or just having fun in the pumpkin patch.
People who invite others onto their property put a lot of thought and work into making it a good experience.
Ellie Rilla is a retired community development advisor with the University of California extension service. She says when you're deciding whether or not to have tours on your farm, ask yourself the following questions:
"Do I have a place that is aesthetic enough, that has something to offer and share in a place that's drivable, that's got traffic and parking taken care of," she says. "And, am I the kind of person that loves to interpret and share all the wonders of farming and ranching?"
If the answers are yes, develop a tour program to fit a varied audience from school groups to adults. Decide how large of a group you can comfortably handle.
Rilla says engage people as soon as they start the tour, especially kids. One way is to ask a question.
"What do you know about farming or what do you think I grow here? Lots of questions that sort pique kids' interest so that the farmer or rancher's just not listing off what I do here, but really trying to engage the kids," says Rilla. "I know this one farmer who always comes with one of her goats, or one of her small cows. She has it there, and then just starts asking the kids what they know about these animals."
Choose three-to-five points that you want to emphasize during the tour, and whenever possible, make it an interactive, hands-on experience.
Keep visitors away from machinery and other potential hazards. Post signage and instructions, especially if there are other places for people to explore.
Here are some ideas for what's considered agritourism
Links to a ton of agritourism resources to answer your questions
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