Northern New Hampshire is blessed with an abundance of both farmland and forest. Many of the state’s rural residents depend on this land for their livelihoods. A good example is agritourism, a specific type of rural, land-‐based tourism broadly defined as any activity that encourages people to visit a farm. Agritourism activities can include pick-‐your-‐own fruits and vegetables, horseback riding, petting zoos, corn mazes, even weddings, parties, and other events.
In the past decade, agritourism has become one of the fastest-‐growing segments of the tourism industry. This growth has meant new challenges for farmers, in areas such as insurance, technology and e-‐commerce, food safety, legal counsel, and financial management.
Responding to the growing needs of agritourism farmers, the Center for Rural Partnerships (CRP), in conjunction with UVM Extension and the Northeast Center for Risk Management Education, created a series of workshops designed to help Farmers manage the risks associated with having visitors on their farm. These workshops focused on a three-‐tool policy for managing risk, which included:
- Seeking the help and advice of experts
- Creating a support network of stakeholders
- Developing a personalized risk management plan
During the course of the project, approximately 85 farmers took advantage of the CRP’s risk-‐management workshops. Insurance agents, marketing specialists, local extensions specialists, farmers and foresters were all on hand to offer expertise and network with participants. By the end of each workshop, the participants had engaged with each other and the experts to develop a deeper understanding of the strategies for managing risk, and many had even developed personalized working plans to take back to their farms.
Although developing an Agritourism business can seem overwhelming at first, the workshops showed that landowners and farmers of all skill level could successfully develop and implement the tools of risk management, ensuring positive agricultural and rural experiences for their visitors.