Tag Archives: Agritourism

A Mapping of Agritourism Operations in Virginia

Chris Lucha[1], Gustavo Ferreira[2], Martha Walker[3], Gordon Groover[4], and Peter Caffarelli[5]

Over the past decade, Virginia has experienced a significant decline in its agricultural operations.  The decline in the number of farms has been coupled with a decrease in farming land as well as total crop land (VDACS, 2012).  Anecdotal evidence also shows that recent generations are becoming less interested in agriculture, which is leaving farm tasks to the older generations and explains the steady increase in the average age of the principal farm operator.  With agriculture being the largest industry in Virginia, it is important to seek ways to reverse this trend.  Agritourism has recently emerged as a valid alternative that could buttress economic development in many rural communities.  As this article will show, some areas and regions are better suited for agritourism operations than others, which is why clustering of operations occurs. Continue reading

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The Perceived Need and Potential for Agritourism Operations in Virginia: Benefits and Challenges

By Chris Lucha[1], Gustavo Ferreira[2], and Gordon Groover[3]

Over the past decade, there has been a consistent decline in agricultural operations, creating concerns about the long-term viability for many rural communities.  As seen in table 1, the number of farms, total acreage of those farms, and total crop land has been on the decline since 1997.  In addition, the average principal operator age has steadily increased, meaning that the knowledge and resources base of current owners and managers are not being passed on to the next generation.  According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service (VDACS), agriculture is the largest industry in Virginia and the economic impact of agriculture on Virginia’s economic growth or decline will be felt to a greater extent in rural Virginia.  Production agriculture accounts for almost $2.9 billion in total output and provides jobs to nearly 60,000 Virginia farm workers.  This is primarily value of farm output and does not include the value-added products that results in $26 billion of total economic activity (VDACS).

Table 1

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