Final Report for FNE96-132
This project concerned promotion of agri-tourism. Mr. Hayden set up interactive tours of his farm to teach about vegetable production, free-range eggs, pastured poultry, and sheep husbandry. Over the course of two years he gave about forty tours. The fees he collected amounted to some $400, but the effect on his income was somewhat larger than this, because visitors also spent money at his farmstand. Another undertaking that Mr. Hayden organized was a summer program for children ages 4 to 9, called "Farmer for a Day," every Thursday for five weeks through the summer; this approximately broke even, or was modestly profitable.
After two summers Mr. Hayden discontinued the interactive tours. He says that due to insufficient publicity there weren't enough visitors to make them worthwhile, and that in any case, he found he preferred to spend his time farming. His associate, Christina Manna, who coordinated the Farmer for a Day program, discontinued this as well-- Mr. Hayden says she preferred her free time to the modest income this program generated.
Mr. Hayden still believes that agri-tourism has some potential for farmers with the right location. He suggests that those who are interested link up with a resort or tour company, to more easily tap into the right market.