Agritourism is a field that is growing in popularity as producers try to diversify and increase profits.  By combining agriculture and tourism, agritourism offers new sources of revenue but also presents potential problems and legal complications to agritourism operators.  Simply stated, agritourism could be thought of as the crossroads of tourism and agriculture.  Stated more technically, agritourism can be defined as a form of commercial enterprise that links agricultural production and/or processing with tourism in order to attract visitors onto a farm, ranch, or other agricultural business for the purposes of entertaining and/or educating the visitors and generating income for the farm, ranch, or business owner.   Read the full overview

Note:  Recently added resources are posted at the top of the applicable sections.


Major Statutes

Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. §§ 2131-2159

Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12213

Compilation of States’ Agritourism Statutes

Compilation of States’ Recreational Use Statutes

Compilation of States’ Equine Activity Statutes

Case Law

Case Law Index for Agritourism

Center Research Publications

Using Alternative Enterprises and Recreational Development to Bolster Farm Income — Workbook (R. Rumley & Tullos)

Managing Legal Risk for Alternative Uses of Forestland (R. Rumley, Hatch, Walkingstick, E. Rumley, McPeake)

General Legal Issues for Community Farmers Market Managers to Consider (Crocker)

Recreational Access to Private Lands: Liability Problems and Solutions (Copeland, 1998)

The Nature of Agritourism: Legal Risk Management for Agritourism Operators – PowerPoint (Mirus, 2009)

States’ Agritourism Statutes (Rumley & Mirus)

States’ Recreational Use Statutes (Springsteen & Rumley, 2009)

Recreational Use of Private Lands: Associated Legal Issues (McEowen)

Farmers’ Markets Rules, Regulations, and Opportunities (Hamilton)

The Farmer’s Legal Guide to Producer Marketing Associations (O’Brien)

An Overview of Organizational and Ownership Options Available for Agricultural Enterprises Part I (Goforth)

An Overview of Organizational and Ownership Options Available for Agricultural Enterprises Part II (Goforth)

Planting the Seeds for a New Industry: Agritourism (Pittman)

Zoning Limitations and Opportunities for Farm Enterprises Diversification: Searching for a New Meaning in Old Definitions (Branan)


Congressional Research Service Reports

Reports– published and made available by CRS beginning in 2017

Subjects- published by CRS and made available by NALC until 2018:

Rural Development


Agricultural Law Bibliography

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Legal publications on Agritourism:

Animals — Animal Rights

Equine Law

Farm Labor

Hunting, Recreation and Wildlife

Land Use Regulation

Organizational Forms for Agriculture

Public Lands

Reference Resources

Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

AMS Farmers Markets

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

Subject: Animal Welfare

Licensing and Registration Under the Animal Welfare Act: Guidelines for Dealers, Exhibitors, Transporters, and Researchers

Animal Welfare Act Guidelines for County and State Fairs

Appropriate Technology Transfers for Rural Areas (ATTRA)

Entertainment Farming and Agri-Tourism: Business Management Guide (Adam, 2004)

Building Better Rural Places: Federal Programs for Sustainable Agriculture (Krome et al., 2005)

Forest Service

Special Programs: Tourism

National Survey on Recreation and the Environment

The Latest on Trends in Nature-Based Outdoor Recreation (Forest Service)

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Forms and Publications to Assist Farmers

IRS Farmers’ Tax Guide

Small Business and Self-Employed One-Stop Resource

National Agricultural Library (NAL)

Agritourism Marketing Overview

Promoting Tourism in Rural America

Stories Across America: Opportunities for Rural Tourism

Animal Welfare Information Center

Agritourism and Farm Tours

National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)

Vermont Agritourism

Hawaii Ag-Tourism

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

Taking the First Step: Farm and Ranch Alternative Enterprise and Agritourism Enterprise Resource Evaluation Guide

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)

Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses (2003)

Other Federal Resources

Rural Development

Agricultural Marketing Resource Center – Agritourism

State Agritourism Organizations

Americans with Disabilities Act Home Page

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT)


Zoning and Health Considerations in Agritourism (Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, 2007)

Landowner Liability Protections: Texas Recreational Use Statute, Agritourism Act, and the Farm Animal Liability Act (Lashmet, 2016)

A Handbook for Planning and Managing Agritourism and Nature Tourism Operations (UC Davis Small Farm Center)

Keys to Successfully Choosing Enterprises That Suit Your Small Farm (U. FL. Ext.)

Agritourism Workbook (LSU AgCenter, 2011)

The Opportunity for Agritourism Development in New Jersey (Schilling, Food Policy Institute, Rutgers, 2006)

Agri-Tourism (VA Coop. Ext., 2009)

Developing Trails and Tourism on Private Lands in Texas (TX A&M, 2000)

Nature-Based Tourism and Agritourism Trends: Unlimited Opportunities (Maetzold, Kerr Center,NRCS, 2002)

Obstacles in the Agritourism Regulatory Process: Perspectives of Operators and Officials in 10 California Counties (U. CA. Ag. Issues Center, 2003)

Agritourism in Focus: A Guide for Tennessee Farmers (U. TN, 2005)

Considering an Agritainment Enterprise in Tennessee (Holland & Wolfe, U. TN)

Direct Farm Marketing and Tourism Handbook (U. AZ, 2006)

Oklahoma Agritourism (OK Dept. of Agric.)

Developing Trails and Tourism on Private Lands (TX A&M)

Considerations for an Agritainment Enterprise in Georgia (U. GA)

Factors Motivating Agritourism Entrepreneurs (Mace)

Minimizing Liability for Public Access to Private Lands (Silberstein & Rosensweig, 2002)

Zoning and Health Considerations in Agritourism (Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, 2007)

Additional Resources

Using Alternative Enterprises to Bolster Farm Incomes (Tullos)

Building on the Business Concept and Incorporating the Wildlife Lease as Your Profit Tool (Tullos)

Agritourism Posts (Ag & Food Law Blog)

Natural Resources Enterprises (MS St. Ext.)

Institute of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism (UT St. U. Ext.)

Agritourism and Ag Safety (Penn. St. Ext.)

Agritourism (U. of FL Ext.)

Ecotourism (U. of FL Ext.)

Agritourism (TN, Dept. of Agri.)

Community and Regional Development Institute (Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences)

AgroTourNet (European Union- Leonardo Da Vinci Programme)

Farm and Ranch Recreation Resource Directory (ND St. U., 2004)

Small Farm Center:  Agricultural Tourism (U. CA-Davis)

National Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils, Inc.

Agritourism Enterprises on your Farm or Ranch: Where to start (U. CA – Davis)

Entertainment Farming and Agri-Tourism (ATTRA 2001)

Agritourism Safety – Integrating Safety into Agritourism

Motivation for Agri-Tourism Entrepenureeship (McGeehe, 2004)

Agritourism: Motivations Behind Farm/Ranch Business Diversification (Nickerson, Black & McCool, 2001)

Diversification Through “Fun in the Farm”: Analyzing Structural Factors Affecting Agritourism in Tennessee (Khanal, 2019)

The Rise of the Local Food Movement and its Impact on Rural Economies: With Examples From the Region of Durham (Jibb, 2019)

Agritourism Farms Are More Diverse Than Other U.S. Farms (Bagi, 2014).

Agritourism Allows Farms to Diversity and Has Potential Benefits for Rural Communities (Whitt, Low & Van Sandt, 2019).

Agricultural and Culinary Tourism: Translating Opportunity into Farm Profitability (Lewis and Godin, 2015).

Agri-Tourism (Virginia Cooperative Extension, 2000).