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					          Agri-Tourism in Maine: Opportunities,
          Challenges and Linkages1

                              Thomas G. Allen
       Senior Research Analyst, Center for Tourism Research and Outreach
                              University of Maine

                                  Todd M. Gabe
                Associate Professor of Resource Economics & Policy
                                University of Maine

                         James C. McConnon, Jr.
    Extension Business and Economics Specialist and Associate Professor of
                        Resource Economics & Policy
                            University of Maine


1
Presented at the National Association for Community Development Professionals (NACDEP)
Conference in Philadelphia on April 18, 2007.
 Agri-Tourism in Maine: Opportunities,
 Challenges and Linkages

Project overview
Profile of agri-tourism farms
Agri-tourism and farm profitability
Opportunities and challenges
Contribution to Maine’s economy
Conclusions
Acknowledgements
 Project Goals

Develop a profile of Maine farms engaged in Agri-tourism
activities during 2005.

Assess the importance of agri-tourism activities to farm income.

Identify key opportunities and challenges facing agri-tourism
enterprises in Maine.

Estimate the contribution of agri-tourism to the Maine economy.
      What is Agri-Tourism?

There are many definitions. For this study, we surveyed farms
in Maine that were engaged in direct-to-consumer farm
activities. Some of these activities include:

        On-farm recreation and education
        On-farm lodging and accommodations
        Pick-your-own
        Community supported agriculture (CSA)
        On-farm retail store
        On-farm food processing
        Roadside stands
    Why is Agri-Tourism Important?


Increases options for farm diversification
Improves awareness of local agricultural production
Helps develop new agricultural market niches
Provides farm families with on-site employment
Strengthens sustainability of small farms
Viable community economic development strategy
Profile of Agri-Tourism Farms in Maine
Agri-Tourism Farms Surveyed



    Number of surveys mailed*                               766

    Number of surveys received                              456

    Survey response rate                                  59.5%

 *The survey was sent to farms that voluntarily included themselves in a
  database of agri-tourism farms maintained by the Maine Department of
  Agriculture. The total number of farms in Maine in 2005 was 7,100.
Location of Agri-Tourism Farms in Maine
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   Average Agri-Tourism Farm Size

             Type of Land   Average Number of Acres


Crop acres                            55


Pasture acres                         13


Woodland acres                        72


Other uses                             8


Total                                153
Educational Level of Agri-Tourism Farm
Operators

          Level of Education

                                 18%




         62%                           20%




        High School   College   More than College
 Demographic Characteristics of Agri-Tourism
 Farm Operators



  What is your gender?            Are you the primary operator
                                          of the farm?

                                                      4%
35%
                                                             Yes
                         Male
                         Female                              No

                                    96%
                  65%
Length of Time Operating Farm

                       Number of      Percent of all
 Time Operating Farm    Farms      Agri-Tourism Farms

  Less than 5 years       46             10%

    5 to 10 years         84             19%

    11 to 20 years       130             29%

    21 to 30 years       106             24%

    Over 30 years         77             18%

       TOTAL             443             100%


      Average          20 years
   Legal Form of Organization


                                                    Percent of all
     Legal Form of Organization   Number of Farms   Agri-Tourism
                                                       Farms
Sole Proprietorship                    322              72%
Partnership                             41               9%
Corporation                             60              14%
Limited Liability Company               14               3%
Other                                   10               2%


TOTAL                                  447             100%
    Percent of Income from Off-Farm Sources


Percent of Household Income from                     Percent of all
                                   Number of Farms   Agri-Tourism
        Off-Farm Sources                                Farms
             Zero                        86              19%

          1% to 39%                      96              22%

          40% to 69%                     73              17%

         70% to 100%                    185              42%

             Total                      440             100%
   Plans for the Next Five Years



                                               Percent of all
                    Future Farm Plans
                                            Agri-Tourism Farms

Continue to operate farm as it is                 34%

Expand the farm operation                         46%

Shrink operation                                   6%

Other (retirement, sell or transfer farm)         14%
Agri-Tourism and Farm Profitability
   Gross Revenue of Agri-Tourism Farms

                                                     Percent of all
        Overall Gross Revenue   Number of Farms
                                                  Agri-Tourism Farms

Less than $2,499                      65                15%

$2,500 to $9,999                     113                27%

$10,000 to $24,999                    76                18%

$25,000 to $99,999                    98                23%

$100,000 to $249,999                  40                 9%

$250,000 or more                      36                 8%

Total                                428                100%
    Types of Products Sold by Agri-Tourism Farms


                                                Percent of all
                                    Number of
                                                Agri-Tourism
             Type of Product         Farms
                                                   Farms

Vegetables                            219           48%

Fruits and berries                    179           39%

Hay and silage                        132           29%

Nursery, greenhouse, floriculture     126           28%

Poultry and eggs                       93           20%

Maple syrup                            92           20%

Other                                  54           12%
Distribution of Revenue Sources on the Average
Agri-Tourism Farm

                                    Percent of
               Marketing Activity   Total Farm
                                     Revenue

   Wholesale                          26%
   On-farm retail store               17%
   Roadside stands                    17%
   Pick-your-own                      12%
   Farmers market                     11%
   Other non-recreation sales          7%
   Lodging and accommodations          1%
   On-farm recreation                  1%
   On-farm restaurant                  1%
  Importance of Agri-Tourism Activities to Total
  Farm Revenue, by Size of Farm



                                         Agri-Tourism
                            Number of    Revenue as a
               Farm Size
                             Farms      Percent of Total
                                        Farm Revenue

Less than $5,000              115            64%
$5,000 to $49,999             192            62%
$50,000 to $499,999           103            52%
$500,000 to $1 million         10            49%
More than $1 million           8             13%
Employee Efforts Devoted to Agri-Tourism
Activities*


                                            Percent of all
                                Number of
   Percent of Employee Effort               Agri-Tourism
                                 Farms
                                               Farms


             None                 122           31%

           1 to 10%                59           15%

           11 to 25%               49           12%

           26 to 50%               39           10%

           51 to 75%               38           10%

          76 to 100%               86           22%
             Total                393          100%


*Based on hired employees, including paid family members.
          Top 10 Agri-Tourism Farm Activities


                            Farm stand                                                             39%

                    On-farm retail store                                                   32%

            Argricultural-related events                                       25%

      Small group/ individual farm tours                                     23%

                        Pick-your-own                                    21%

              On-farm food processing                                  19%

                  Educational activities                         16%

  Processing of non-food farm products                 11%

         Cut-your-own Christmas trees                 9%

Community-supported agriculture (CSA)                9%

                                           0%   5%   10%   15%     20%       25%     30%    35%   40%    45%
  Primary Reasons for Engaging in Agri-Tourism
  Activities

                                                             Percent of all
                                                 Number of
Primary Reason for Engaging in Agri-Tourism                  Agri-Tourism
                                                  Farms
                                                                Farms
To generate additional farm profits                230           55%

To respond to a need/opportunity in the market     172           41%

Primary source of income for the farm              170           40%

To increase and/or diversify my market             156           37%

To capitalize on a special interest or hobby       121           29%

To provide a new and interesting challenge          82           19%

To generate revenues during the off-season          63           15%

To provide employment for family members            58           14%
Agri-Tourism Impacts on Farm Profitability

                                                Percent of all
                                    Number of
          Impact on Profitability               Agri-Tourism
                                     Farms
                                                   Farms

Increases profits significantly       128           32%

Increases profits slightly            124           31%

Sole source of farm income            100           25%

Has no effect on profitability         43           10%

Lowers profits slightly                4             1%

Lowers profits significantly           3             1%

Total                                 402          100%
Do Farmers Plan to Expand Agri-Tourism
Activities?


28% of farmers surveyed plan to initiate a new agri-
tourism enterprise within the next 12 months

48% of farmers surveyed have a long-term interest in
developing a new agri-tourism enterprise
Opportunities and Challenges
    Top 10 Major Obstacles to the Start-up or
    Expansion of Agri-Tourism Activities
                                 Does
                                            No                       Major
                                  Not                 Challenging
Major Obstacle                           Difficulty                 Obstacle
                                 Apply
Finding time                      7%       26%           18%         49%
Insurance availability           12%       38%           21%         29%
Finding qualified workers        37%       22%           14%         27%
Taxes                            12%       48%           18%         22%
Creating relationships with
                                 50%       21%           13%         16%
tourism businesses
Finding customers                 4%       55%           25%         16%
Obtaining financing              47%       29%           9%          15%
Licenses and permitting          20%       51%           15%         14%
Promotion and advertising         9%       56%           24%         11%

Understanding liability issues   12%       58%           19%         11%
    Top 10 Promotions for Agri-Tourism Activities

                                                             Percent of all
                                                 Number of
         Type of Promotional Activity                        Agri-Tourism
                                                  Farms
                                                                Farms
Word of mouth                                      365           84%

Listing in printed directories                     237           54%

Newspaper                                          233           53%

Listing on others’ web page                        221           51%

Your own brochures distributed off the farm        167           38%

Through an association                             143           33%

Your own web page                                  130           30%

Direct mail to current and potential customers      92           21%

E-mail to current and potential customers           92           21%

Consumer trade shows, special events                91           21%
   Top 10 Planned Agri-Tourism Activities

                                                               Percent of all
                                                               Agri-Tourism
                Planned Agri-Tourism Activity                     Farms
Agricultural-related special events (Open Farm Sunday, etc.)       18%
Educational activities                                             17%
On-farm retail store                                               16%
Farm stand                                                         15%
Small group/individual farm tours                                  14%
On-farm food processing                                            13%
Outdoor recreation                                                 12%
Community-supported agriculture (CSA)                              10%
Pick-your-own fruits or vegetables                                 10%
Bed & breakfast or lodging                                          9%
  Top 10 Workshops of Interest

                                                         Percent of all
                                             Number of
Workshop Topic                                           Agri-Tourism
                                              Farms
                                                            Farms
Pricing of on-farm products and activities     143           33%
Advertising and promotion                      124           29%
Internet marketing                             124           29%
Marketing your farm to tourists                 92           22%
Web sites and search engines                    92           22%
Creating a marketing plan                       85           20%
Product development                             82           19%
Media relations                                 67           16%
Accounting & bookkeeping                        61           14%
Writing a business plan                         56           13%
Membership in Agricultural Associations

                                         Percent of all
                             Number of   Agri-Tourism
    Number of Agricultural    Farms         Farms
       Associations

  None                          68           15%

  One                          110           25%

  2 to 3                       188           42%

  4 to 6                        70           15%

  7 to 10                       8             2%

  More than 10                  3             1%

  Total                        447          100%
 Membership in Local Tourism-Related
 Associations



Membership in Local or Regional        Mermbership in Local Chamber
   Tourism Business Group                     of Commerce


                     4%
                              Yes                         15%
                                                                 Yes
                                  No                             No


 96%                                   85%
Frequency of Interaction with Nearby Tourism-
Related Businesses

                                     Percent of all
          Frequency of   Number of
                                     Agri-Tourism
           Interaction    Farms
                                        Farms

  Never                    315           73%

  Once a year               52           12%

  Once a month              31            7%

  Once a week               16            4%

  Almost daily              17            4%

  Total                    431          100%
Contribution to Maine’s Economy
Contribution of Agri-Tourism Sales to Overall
Farm Sales in Maine, 2005


                     Contribution of Agri-Tourism Sales to
                      Overall Farm Sales in Maine, 2005*



                                                                  $28,300,000,
                                                                      43%

                  $37,300,000,
                      57%




                        Agri-tourism activities sales            Other sales

    * Estimated total sales for the 766 agri-tourism farms identified in the MDOA database.
     Economic Contributions of Agri-Tourism in
     Maine, 2005




                      Direct Agri-Tourism    Indirect Economic   Total Economic
Economic Measure
                            Activity               Effects        Contribution

      Output             $28,282,175*           $12,561,409       $40,843,584

   Employment                1,762                  165              1,927

*This represents 5.1% of total sales on all farms in Maine.
Conclusions
Agri-Tourism activities are found on all sizes and types
of farms in Maine
The importance of agri-tourism to farm revenue varies
inversely to farm size
Agri-Tourism activities generate $28.3 million in sales:
     43.1% of agri-tourism farm sales and 5.1% of total farm sales
     1,927 full-time and part-time jobs
     $12.5 million in indirect economic impact
     $40.8 million in total economic impact
Key obstacles to agri-tourism include:
     finding adequate time
     Insurance availability or cost
     Finding qualified workers
    Conclusions

Agri-tourism farmers are most interested in learning about:
     How to price their agri-tourism products and services
     Internet marketing
     Advertising and promotion


Agri-tourism farms may benefit from establishing strong
connections and linkages with tourism-related businesses
and organizations in their communities
  Acknowledgements


The authors gratefully acknowledge the valuable
assistance provided by Deanne Herman of the Maine
Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources.
Funding for this research was provided by the Maine
Agricultural Center at the University of Maine.

				
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