AlpacaGram 7.57 | Important Agritourism Information

AlpacaGram 7.32
AlpacaGram 7.57July 23, 2020

Important Agritourism Information

Important Information from the Government and Industry Relations Committee (GIRCom)

Agritourism is broadly defined as any agricultural operation that brings visitors to a farm or ranch, and it is growing in popularity in the alpaca industry as owners try to diversify and increase profits. Agritourism gives alpaca owners an opportunity to educate the public about alpacas and alpaca products. It also provides an opportunity to generate additional income with tours, farm stores, and other direct marketing. Although the Covid-19 pandemic has curtailed ranch visits in most areas, as restrictions are reduced, and with National Alpaca Farm Days coming in September, the AOA Government and Industry Relations Committee wanted to provide you with some important information if you are considering agritourism.

Agritourism has many benefits as noted above, but the benefits come with potential risks that should also be considered. An alpaca owner who opens his or her farm to the public faces the risk of liability. For example, a visitor may be injured while on the property. It is important to understand potential liability and how to manage potential risk before inviting visitors to your alpaca farm.

Agritourism operations may involve other legal issues, depending on the activities involved and the laws of the state or county where your alpaca farm is located. Some activities may not be covered by standard farm insurance policies and additional liability coverage may be needed. Be sure to discuss your intended activities with your insurance carrier. Agritourism operations may also face issues with zoning restrictions, building codes, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, taxation, and business permits. And with the Covid-19 pandemic, there may be restrictions placed on number of visitors and/or their activities. It is important to understand what is required before you start your agritourism operation.

Over half of our states have enacted statutes that address agritourism. The best reference for a summary of these statutes can be found at the following link: https://nationalaglawcenter.org/state-compilations/. Per the National Agricultural Law Center, “these statutes vary from liability protections for agritourism operators to tax credits and/or zoning requirements. Familiarity with these statutes is essential to anyone who engages in agritourism. It is important to note that there are other statutes that impact agritourism operators in each state; however, the statutes included are the statutes that specifically mention and directly address agritourism. Several states have pending legislation; these new statutes will be added to the compilation as they are passed.”

One of our AOA members, Jay Reeder, has presented at our national shows on the topic of Agritourism. His website https://www.applemountainalpacas.com/mentoring/agritourism-101/ has extensive information on the topic.

There are many informative websites with information about agritourism. A few are listed below:

If you know of additional websites with useful information about agritourism, please email the AOA Government Industry and Relations Committee at gircom@alpacainfo.com so we may update the list for our members.

Skyline Alpacas
AOA Gold Benefactors
Alpaca Country Estates Ranch and B&B

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