The past few years have witnessed an increased interest in agritainment activities (agritourism and entertainment farming) on Tennessee farms. Animal petting pens, pumpkin patches, hay-bale and corn mazes, farm tours and farm festivals have become almost commonplace across the state. Other agritainment activities such as children’s camps, corporate events and cabin rentals are also being implemented. These and other agritainment activities have created new uses for many farm resources and have contributed to additional sources of farm revenue.
Often begun as educational and awareness programs, many agritainment activities have been developed from small-scale, hobby-type activities into full-time, primary farm enterprises. When done as a hobby, it is often difficult to cover all costs and realize a positive net return. Therefore, many agritainment enterprises are being developed as recognizable entities of the total farm operation. With this distinction comes the commitment of many farm resources, including a significant amount of managerial time and farm labor and a significant investment in marketing and promotion.
School groups are often considered good target audiences for agritainment activities for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons are:
• most school classes take field trips
• farm and agritainment activities can easily relate to educational curriculums
• school classes are accustomed to planning and taking field trips and have an infrastructure to do so
• individually or collectively, school classes tend to represent large numbers of individuals (i.e., average classes may have 20 students, an average grade level may have 100 students, an average school may have 600 students and an entire county system may have thousands of students)
• school groups normally have a specific point of contact (teacher) who understands the group’s constraints and provides leadership for arrangements
Keep in mind that different groups have different expectations. That is, the expectations and requirements of a senior citizen group will differ from those of a kindergarten class. So, targeting different groups may require different promotion methods. Because elementary school classes can be such a vital target market for agritainment activities, a survey of elementary schoolteachers in a six-county area was conducted by the Agricultural Development Center in the spring of 1999 to identify the needs, expectations and desires of school groups. This publication is devoted to summarizing the results of the schoolteacher survey.
"PB1669-Targeting School Groups for Agritainment Enterprises," The University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service, PB1669-500-2/01 E12-4015-00-003-01, http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_agexmkt/15