Agritourism has become one of the fastest growing tourism markets and an excellent way for farms to increase their revenue. However, there are several things agritourism operators need to know to make their operation a success.
We are currently developing resources to guide you through the process of starting your own agritourism operation. Below we have provided links to several resources to educate current operators and assist those wishing to start an operation.
VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s official source for travel planning, awarded a Cultural, Heritage, Rural and Nature (CHRN) Grant to the Florida Agritourism Association for the 2014-2015 Fiscal Year, which began July 1, 2014. These funds were used to create a Florida Agritourism Toolkit which provides expansive information and resources for agritourism operators related to both the marketing and technical aspects of running an agritourism operation.
Explore the following resources:
- Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Marketing and Development
- VISIT FLORIDA
- University of Florida IFAS Extension
- Florida Farm Bureau
- Agritourism World
- Agricultural Marketing Resource Center
- Agritourism Expert Jane Eckert
The Florida Agritourism Association was founded in 2013 by a group of dedicated volunteers. We are passionate about creating awareness about and opportunities for Florida Agritourism Operators. Our board members have a combined 50 plus years experience including: association management; political advocacy; and non-profit experience. It is our vision to create a robust organization that will both promote our member’s agritourism operation, but will also protect and expand the ability for your business to prosper.
Along with these valuable resources, if you wish to speak with one of our founders, please feel free to contact us at any time. We are here to educate you about agritourism and answer any questions that you may have. We will also hold educational workshops and networking events around the state. To submit a location and be added to our database, scroll down to “Add A Farm” and complete the form. We are excited to begin this adventure with you!
Agritourism can be an exciting new enterprise for you. However, inviting the public to your farm increases your liability and legal responsibilities. It is important that as an agritourism operator you understand these inherent risks. We are here to help educate you about these risks and provide information to make sure you are fully protected. The founders of our association were instrumental in passing the “Agritourism Bill” (Senate Bill 1106) in 2013. The new law prevents a local government from prohibiting, restricting, regulating or otherwise limiting an agritourism activity on land that has been classified as agricultural by a property appraiser. Most importantly, the bill establishes a limitation on legal liability from the inherent risks for the landowner, agritourism operator, and employees if a notice of risk is posted on the land. Below you will find links to information about state statues, required business licenses and permits, insurance, tax, zoning and additional benefits also available in our Resource Toolkit (Coming December 2014).
Florida Agritourism Law (Senate Bill 1106)
With the 2013 additions to Florida’s Agritourism Law, the Legislature signaled its intent to eliminate duplication of regulatory authority over agritourism and provide needed legal protection for Florida agritourism businesses. It prohibits a local government from prohibiting, restricting, regulating, or otherwise limiting an agritourism activity on land that has been classified as agricultural by a property appraiser.
Most importantly, the bill establishes a limitation on legal liability from the inherit risks for the land owner, agritourism operator, and employees if a notice of risk is posted on the land. The bill clarifies and expands the definition of “agritourism activity” and creates a new definition for “inherent risks of an agritourism activity.
“This legislation removes the regulatory roadblocks holding back Florida’s agritourism industry,” says Frank Matthews with the law firm Hopping, Green & Sams, P.A., and one of Florida’s leading environmental attorneys. Modeling the work of several other states, this legislation offers some protection against costly personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits related to the inherent risks of an agritourism activity. Mr. Matthews, however, cautions that the legislation may not be enough to always cover agritourism operators. “While the bill offers broad liability protection,” Mr. Matthews asserts, “there remain unanswered questions concerning the scope of protection afforded by this bill.”
The bill defines an “agritourism activity” as an activity that is consistent with a bona fide farm or ranch or in a working forest which allows members of the general public, for recreational, entertainment, or educational purposes, to view or enjoy activities, including farming, ranching, historical, cultural, or harvest-your-own activities and attractions.
Below are links to the Florida statutes: