For nearly 30 years, the annual Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll has tracked changes in rural social networks. This year’s Farm Poll introduced three sets of questions about agritourism, or the act of visiting a working farm or agribusiness for enjoyment, education or active involvement. Although less than 1% of Iowa farmers currently host entertainment activities like festivals or corn mazes, 34% of respondents agree that Iowans should get more involved in agritourism.
Latham Hi-Tech Seeds entered the agritourism arena this summer by hosting our first Latham Country Fair. Also, this summer I had the pleasure of touring Hansen Dairy, which makes a significant contribution to northeast Iowa through its agritourism activities.
Agritourism is a means to increase farm income and to expand tourism in rural areas, according to the 2010 Farm Poll. And, several leaders in our area couldn’t agree more. That’s why, beginning in January, I’ll be serving on a committee with the Hampton Chamber of Commerce that will explore how agricultural businesses can help expand tourism right here in Franklin County.
Exploring ideas that will provide entertainment, while educating the public about agriculture, truly fascinates me. Rural Sociology courses were among my favorites in college, so it’s no wonder that I’m especially intrigued by the Farm & Rural Life. If this topic also interests you, read more about results from the 2010 Farm Poll here: http://www.soc.iastate.edu/extension/farmpoll.html.