Assessing Your Preferences, Options, and Goals
A key point before venturing into farm recreation/education is to identify or revisit the real goals of the farm and to discuss these goals with all parties who may influence the decision-making. If any of the "partners" do not have the same goals, success will be limited and interpersonal stress may be the major result. ALL partners (this may be family members or outside interests) must meet together and seriously express their personal and business goals.
Define your goals
- What kind of visitors do you want to attract?
- What kind of guests can you attract to your farm with the operation you have today?
- What kind of visitors will you be able to attract in the future?
Here are a few comments on your audience and what you might expect:
- Schools, youth groups and community members usually find farm tours enjoyable field trips. Often, teachers can link what students have learned on the farm with their classroom curriculum, and are encouraged to do so.
- Providing a farm tour to local businesses and community leaders gives you the opportunity to showcase your agri-business and allows them the opportunity to experience life on a present-day working farm. This can be very advantageous if agriculture is an integral part of the community.
- Consider hosting a tour for the media highlighting the positive aspects of your farm. This can be beneficial to better prepare journalists for future agricultural and food related news stories.
- Local officials can benefit from the insight gained from attending a farm tour when making important decisions that affect the community. Consider organizing a tour for elected official and invite residents and media to attend and interact with their representatives.