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GLIN==> NYSG News: Ag-Tourism Study Results

Posted on behalf of Kara Dunn <karalynn@gisco.net>

For Immediate Release: March 24, 2001
For More Information: Diane Kuehn, Coastal Tourism Specialist, NY Sea Grant,

NY Sea Grant Publishes NY's First Agritourism Study Results

Oswego, NY -- Results of the first study to quantify the impact of
agritourism on New York State=B9s economy have been published by New York
Grant, Oswego. Agritourism businesses, farm-based businesses that are open
to visitors, are a growing sector of New York State's tourism industry.
Businesses such as farm stands, petting zoos with farm animals, and wineries
are types of agritourism businesses.

An eight-page "Agritourism in New York: Management and Operations" Fact
Sheet  identifies the types of agritourism businesses, and estimated income,
expenses and profit by business type in each of the state's 11 designated
tourism regions. The owners of 645 farm-based businesses welcoming visitors
formed the basis of the business survey of the study. A customer survey was
conducted in 1999.The financial estimates in the report were calculated from
the estimated number of agritourism businesses.

Farm stands make up the greatest percentage of business types for 10 of the
state's 11 tourism regions, followed by Christmas tree sales, U-pick
operations and maple syrup producers.

The Fact Sheet looks at the mix of components businesses use, e.g. fruit and
vegetable sales, homemade food sales, u-pick operations, farm tours, and
cider, herb, honey, maple, meat and Christmas tree production and sales. The
survey summarizes owners' reasons for starting an agritourism business, the
seasonality of agritourism businesses, and the average number of employees.

The Fact Sheet includes a table listing the top ten concerns of agritourism
business owners. Liability and liability insurance tops the list with
marketing costs, labor costs, government regulations and taxes right behind.
Among 26 other concerns are an interest in preserving open space and farm
land, societal changes that influence customer bases, and the competition of
artificial Christmas trees with live Christmas tree sales.

"This survey was conducted to help farmers already engaged in agritourism
and those looking at adding an agritourism component to their farming
operations. There are many different considerations that need to be looked
at when planning or improving an agritourism operation," says study
co-author Diane Kuehn, a Coastal Tourism Specialist with NY Sea Grant,
Oswego. "We found that 64% of the businesses we surveyed plan to expand or
diversify their operations in the next five years, while nearly seven
percent say they may be out of business in that time."

A printed copy of the Agritourism in New York Fact Sheet is available for $1
(make checks payable to Cornell University) from New York Sea Grant at
SUNY-Oswego, Oswego, NY 13126; 315-312-3042. The fact sheet is available for
free online at http://www.cce.cornell.edu/seagrant/tourism/agritou.htm. Fact
Sheet co-author Duncan Hilchey, an Agriculture Development Specialist with
Cornell University=B9s Farming Alternatives Program, is currently completing
second Fact Sheet looking at agritourism marketing strategies. It will be
available later this year.

The New York Sea Grant Institute is a cooperative program of the State
University of New York and Cornell University with administrative offices at
SUNY Stony Brook. Sea Grant=B9s SUNY Oswego office is one of nine extension
sites throughout the state: NEW ADDRESS/NEW PHONE: SUNY Oswego, 62B Mackin
Hall, Oswego, NY 13126, Attn: Dave White, Great Lakes Program Coordinator,
Office Phone: (315) 312-3042, Fax: (315) 341-2954, E-mail:
SGOswego@cornell.edu, Internet: www.seagrant.sunysb.edu.

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