Document Type

Value-Added Agriculture

Publication Date



Agritainment (agritourism and entertainment farming enterprises) has an extensive history in the United States. Farm-related recreation and tourism can be traced back to the late 1800s, when families visited farming relatives in an attempt to escape from the city’s summer heat. Visiting the country became even more popular with the widespread use of the automobile in the 1920s. Rural recreation gained interest again in the 1930s and 1940s by folks seeking an escape from the stresses of the Great Depression and World War II. These demands for rural recreation led to widespread interest in horseback riding, farm petting zoos and farm nostalgia during the 1960s and 1970s. Farm vacations, bed and breakfasts and commercial farm tours were popularized in the 1980s and 1990s.

The demand for a slower-paced farm experience, once supplied by rural family members, seems to be somewhat difficult to satisfy today because of the four-and five-generation gap between farm and non-farm citizens. Recreation-related enterprises are becoming an increasingly important American business. Increased leisure time and discretionary, disposable income, greater mobility and the social thrust toward relaxation, leisure and satisfying personal wants are creating exciting, new recreation opportunities that did not exist a decade ago1.

For some, tourism and entertainment-related activities are relatively new farm diversification enterprises in Tennessee. However, diversification seems to be as important to a successful farm operation today as ever before. Tennessee’s broad mix of agricultural production (cotton, soybeans, corn, tobacco, dairy, beef, horse, sheep, vegetables, speciality crops and forestry), coupled with a tourism industry estimated at $7.7 billion per year from more than 40 million visitors to the state, creates a favorable foundation for success in the agritourism industry2.

This publication will assist farmers and agri-entrepreneurs who are considering an agritainment enterprise. The information provides general considerations of the agritainment industry, marketing, financial and general management issues. Additional information and assistance in the evaluation, analysis and planning of agritainment enterprises may be obtained from the University of Tennessee Agricultural Development Center (ADC) and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) Market Development Division. The ADC may be contacted through any county Extension office in tennessee or directly at (865) 974-3824 or at the ADC web site: The Market Development Division may be contacted by telephone at (615) 837-5160 or at their website: Agritainment

Publication Number

PB1648-1M-5/00 E12-1015-01-002-00

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