Considering the large impact that both agriculture and tourism have on the state of Minnesota, expanding agritourism opportunities may be an important boost to both economies. In 2008 the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), through its Community Assistance Program (CAP), supported a research project to explore agritourism opportunities in Minnesota, particularly the concept of creating a network of “farm stays” to be cooperatively marketed.
Agriculture is the second largest industry in Minnesota. It generates $55 billion in economic activities for the state and supports 367,000 jobs (MN Dept. of Agriculture, 2007). There are 79,300 farms in Minnesota occupying 27.4 million acres or 54% of Minnesota’s total land area (MN Dept. of Agriculture, 2007). As the second largest industry in Minnesota, agriculture is extremely important to every Minnesotan, particularly those in rural areas. However, small family farmers are looking for ways to diversify their income and ensure profit long into the future. Agritourism has been suggested as one way to diversify their income. In general, agritourism is the practice of attracting tourists to an area used primarily for agricultural purposes (Blacka et. al., 2001).
Marketing Minnesota's Fields and Forests: Research on the Potential for Developing a Farm Stay Database and Joint Marketing Program in Minnesota.
University of Minnesota Tourism Center.
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