Oregon Agritourism Handbook

This site was created for a wide range of people with a common interest in the intersection of agriculture and tourism. So whether you’re a farmer or rancher (or an aspiring one), have a tourism business that works with farmers and ranchers, or are a budding entrepreneur with no land but an agritourism venture idea, this site is for you.

If you’re just starting out, you may want to work through the information in the order of the Table of Contents shown to the right. If you have an existing operation, just skip around to the sections that seem most relevant. You can download and print whatever you need.

What do we actually mean by “agritourism”? While the term “agritourism” just entered the Merriam Webster dictionary in 2006, the activity has a rich history. Basically, agritourism is any activity that generates supplemental income for working farms and ranches by connecting their resources and products with visitors. It includes on-farm and off-farm activities. To borrow from California’s language*, agritourism “promotes farm products and generates additional farm income, in the process of providing visitors with entertainment, recreation, hands-on participation and education”.

Here in Oregon, where culinary tourism is already a major draw, we incorporate elements of culinary tourism into agritourism. Here, tourists participate in agritourism when they experience a working landscape by visiting a farm or ranch, or via authentic local flavors by meeting the producer and/or tasting the product.

Oregon statutes define agritourism more narrowly from a legal and regulatory perspective, permitting very specific activities on exclusive farm-use (EFU) land. For the purposes of compliance, Section III of this handbook is geared toward this narrower definition.

This handbook focuses on gearing up for “tourists” as opposed to local residents. Travel Oregon uses a specific definition of “tourist” to differentiate their activity from that of local customers: Tourists travel at least 50 miles from home, or they stay overnight at their destination. That’s not to say that local residents don’t visit local farms and ranches. But visitors from outside your area bring new dollars into your community. That’s our focus here.

This handbook is brought to you by the Oregon Agritourism Network, established in 2015 to grow high quality Oregon agritourism, guided by these goals and vision for the future. Please check back in the future, as the handbook will be regularly improved and updated. If you’d like to see or contribute additional information, please contact Alexa Carey at Alexa@TravelOregon.com.

*An often-used definition of agritourism is included in “Agritourism and Nature Tourism in California,” a publication of the University of California’s Small Farm Center. The full definition specifies activities that occur on a working agricultural or horticultural operation. Here in Oregon, we also consider some off-farm/ranch activities to fall under the agritourism umbrella. 

Disclaimer:

“The information included in the Oregon Agritourism Handbook should not be construed or treated as legal advice or counsel on matters of legal, tax, land-use or other policy.  The Oregon Agritourism Handbook is strictly written to provide information to individuals interested in pursuing an agritourism business. This information is intended as a guide and resource hub. It is the responsibility of the individual to determine and understand all applicable laws, rules and regulations for each specific business and location. This handbook only offers information on where and how to connect with those resources. In no way is the information compiled intended to replace advice obtained from professionals such as an attorney, insurance agent, financial planner or land-use planner. Content and outside links found in the Oregon Agritourism Handbook do not necessarily reflect the views of the State of Oregon, Travel Oregon or the Oregon Tourism Commission. While the writers of this content have taken precautions to ensure the accuracy of the information provided, please note that content is subject to change. The advice of qualified and licensed professionals should be sought before embarking on any new or expanded business venture.”

Oregon Agritourism Handbook In Oregon

  1. I. Why Consider Agritourism?

    Agritourism isn’t for everyone, but there’s a growing market – and where there’s a fit for your farm, ranch or…

  2. II. Assessing your Potential for Agritourism Success

    Now that you have a sense of visitor interests, market trends and the range of possible activities, the next step…

  3. III. Complying with Legal and Regulatory Requirements

    Now that you have some preliminary agritourism business ideas, you’re ready to navigate the maze of legal and regulatory permits…

  4. IV. Managing Risk

    Agritourism can help your farm or ranch reduce its operating risks, by diversifying your income sources and your customer base.…

  5. V. Developing a Business Plan

    Sure, you have an agritourism idea for your business, but do you have a business plan? And do you need…

  6. VI. Marketing Your Agritourism Venture

    Marketing is simple: Determine the most likely customers for your product or service; communicate what you offer in terms of…

  7. VII. Delivering a Great Visitor Experience

    A great visitor experience not only satisfies the soul –in an era of lightning-fast communication via social media, happy visitors…

  8. VIII. Productive Partnerships

    Working together with others – both the obvious partners and more unusual candidates – can help you build a successful…

Want more information about Oregon Agritourism Handbook?

If you have additional questions or comments about Oregon Agritourism Handbook, please contact the appropriate member of the Travel Oregon staff listed below.

  1. Alexa Carey