; Mitigating Risk in Agritourism Enterprises | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Mitigating Risk in Agritourism Enterprises

Dawn Thilmany McFadden


While agritourism is often considered a risk management strategy in terms of income diversification, those operating agritourism enterprises must consider a new set of risks with different timing and impact than those risks inherent to traditional commodity production and marketing. This presentation will focus on understanding and planning for production, marketing and institutional risk in agritourism, and the actions producers can take to reduce these risks.

First, production risk in agritourism covers the availability and viability of the producers’ inputs, which include more service-oriented labor, different cropping systems (e.g., used for a corn maze, farm stand, u-pick or animal feed), livestock (used for trail rides, a petting zoo or a working ranch experience), and the land and water base used for production. Second, since farmers and ranchers market their agritourism products and services directly to consumers, they encounter risks in understanding the role of competition, essential promotion partners, and pricing when they develop and implement marketing plans for their operation. Third, institutional risk in agritourism involves how the regulatory environment (federal, state and/or local) may impact an existing or proposed enterprise. A lack of knowledge may cause unnecessary expenditures in compliance fees or fines, production delays, or even business interruption.

Because agritourism business owners need to be able to measure risk in order to assess its impact on their operations, we will discuss projected costs and returns to several types of fairly generalizable agritourism enterprises, under different risk scenarios, based on cases studies from Colorado agritourism producers.