One more weekend to take advantage of the 2013 Fall Agritourism Season!

Join the fun! Find local agritourism operations registered with the Mississippi Agritourism Association by clicking on the pumpkins here http://mississippiagritourism.org/member_map.htm or using the list format.  Search your county for operations using the Mississippi Development Authority website: http://www.visitmississippi.org/agritourism.aspx.

Agritourism is the fastest growing sector in the tourism industry and is making a positive impact on rural economies in Mississippi. Demand for agritourism arises from urbanites looking for ways to experience the outdoors and learn about farming and the food supply. Agritourism is a popular way for families to connect to history and place and spend quality time together away from electronic devices. Supply of agritourism arises from agricultural producers adapting to changing economic realities.  Many find that devoting a small portion of acreage to agritourism efforts is a relatively profitable way to use their land.

In 2007 the US had 23,350 farms offering agritourism and outdoor activities which provided $566 million in annual revenues for farms. Between the 2002 and 2007 Census of Agriculture, income from agritourism increased 128 percent in Mississippi. In 2007, the average income per farm from agritourism was $16,000. It is estimated that current trends will increase, and, if so, the average agritourism income per farm in Mississippi will rise to $43,000 in 2013. The agritourism industry in Mississippi has a handful of large operations which boast between 30,000 and 90,000 visitors each year. However, most of the operations are much smaller and are in the start-up phase.

A two-year Limited Liability Law (LLL) passed in the Mississippi Legislature in 2012 and is expected to be codified in 2014. Many operations are expected to open due to passage of LLL which protects operators from any liability, provided there was no negligence on the part of the owner. In order to be covered, operators MUST be registered yearly: http://www.mdac.state.ms.us/programs/agritourism/index.html.

Contact Becky Smith (becky.smith@msstate.edu) for more information.

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