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 while also presenting potential problems and legal complications for 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 to attract visitors to 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. §§ 2131-2160
Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12213
Compilation of States’ Agritourism Statutes
Compilation of States’ Equine Activity Statutes
Compilation of States’ Recreational Use Statutes

Case Law

Case Law Index for Agritourism

Center Research Publications

States’ Agritourism Statutes (Rumley & Mirus, 2021)
Recent Agritourism Litigation in the United States (Hall & Essman, 2020)
Ten Legal Issues for Farm Stay Operators (Hall & Wood, 2020)
Reducing Risk in Agritourism: Factsheet Series (Hall & Bachelor, 2019)
Using Alternative Enterprises and Recreational Development to Bolster Farm Income — Workbook (R. Rumley & Tullos, 2012)
Managing Legal Risk for Alternative Uses of Forestland (R. Rumley, Hatch, Walkingstick, E. Rumley & McPeake, 2012)
The Nature of Agritourism: Legal Risk Management for Agritourism Operators – PowerPoint (Mirus, 2009)
States’ Recreational Use Statutes (Springsteen & Rumley, 2009)
General Legal Issues for Community Farmers Market Managers to Consider (Crocker, 2007)
Planting the Seeds for a New Industry: Agritourism (Pittman, 2006)
The Farmer’s Legal Guide to Producer Marketing Associations (O’Brien, 2005)
Zoning Limitations and Opportunities for Farm Enterprises Diversification: Searching for a New Meaning in Old Definitions (Branan, 2004)
Recreational Use of Private Lands: Associated Legal Issues (McEowen, 2003)
Farmers’ Markets Rules, Regulations, and Opportunities (Hamilton, 2002)
An Overview of Organizational and Ownership Options Available for Agricultural Enterprises Part I (Goforth, 2002)
An Overview of Organizational and Ownership Options Available for Agricultural Enterprises Part II (Goforth, 2002)
Recreational Access to Private Lands: Liability Problems and Solutions (Copeland, 1998)

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
Food Safety
Local and Regional Food Sector

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

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

Taking the First Step: Farm and Ranch Alternative Enterprise and Agritourism Enterprise Resource Evaluation Guide (2004)
Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses (2003)
Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education (SARE)
National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
Agritourism Best Practice Guides

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)


Agritourism: The Nebraska Lawyer (McEowen, 2022)
America’s Farms and Ranches at a Glance: 2022 Edition
Defining and Regulating Agritourism: Trends in State Agritourism Legislation 2019-2020 (Center for Agriculture and Food Systems)
Don’t Walk Under That Mistletoe: Limited Liability for Agritourism Destinations (National Law Review, 2022)
Increasing Farm Viability Through Agritourism and On-Farm Direct Sales: An Oregon Producer Survey (Stewart, et al., 2021)
Agritourism Manual (KS. Dept. of Wildlife & Parks, 2019)
Diversification Through “Fun in the Farm”: Analyzing Structural Factors Affecting Agritourism in Tennessee (Khanal, Honey & Omobitan, 2019)
Getting Started in Agritourism (Cornell University Cooperative Extension- Roth & Ochterski, 2016)
Resource Guide for Direct-to-Consumer Sales and Agritourism Operations (Georgia Agritourism, 2016)
Agri-tourism: Health and Safety Guidelines for Children (National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, 2012)
Using Alternative Enterprises to Bolster Farm Incomes (Tullos, 2012)Agritourism: Ideas and Resources (Walker, 2009)
National Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils, Inc.
Agritourism Enterprises on your Farm or Ranch: Where to start (U. CA-Davis, 2008)
Zoning and Health Considerations in Agritourism (Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, 2007)
Agritourism Fact Sheet (LSU Research and Extension)
The Opportunity for Agritourism Development in New Jersey (Schilling, Food Policy Institute, Rutgers, 2006)
A Handbook for Planning and Managing Agritourism and Nature Tourism Operations (UC Davis Small Farm Center)
Managing Liability: Legal Liability in Agritourism and Direct Marketing Operations (Virginia Cooperative Extension)

Additional Resources

Agritainment (PSU Ext.)
Agritourism (American Planning Assoc.)
Agritourism (K-State Ext., 2022)
Agritourism and Ag Safety (Penn. St. Ext., 2017)
Agritourism Allows Farms to Diversity and Has Potential Benefits for Rural Communities (Whitt, Low & Van Sandt, 2019)
Agritourism Emergency Response & Legal Liability Assessment Checklist (Rutgers: New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station)
Agritourism Fact Sheet (LSU Research and Extension)
Agritourism Farms Are More Diverse Than Other U.S. Farms (Bagi, 2014)
Agritourism Destination Licensing Guide (KS Dept. of Agriculture, 2020)
Agritourism Marketing (Agricultural Marketing Resource Center)
Agritourism Posts (Ag & Food Law Blog)
Agritourism Safety – Integrating Safety into Agritourism
AgroTourNet (European Union- Leonardo Da Vinci Programme)
Appeals Court upholds injunction against wedding barn (Hall, 2022)
Community and Regional Development Institute (Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences)Ecotourism (U. of FL Ext.)
Culinary and Agritourism: Direct Marketing Strategies (Washington State Dept. of Agriculture, 2019)
Extension Training for Agritourism Development (Rutgers: New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station)
Farmbytes: The Basics of Marketing Local Food (University of Minnesota Extension)
Farm Tour and Agritourism Guide (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project)
FSMA Produce Safety Rule FAQs: Agritourism & FSMA (ME Dept. of Ag.)
Growing Your Brand (MS State Extension)
Harvesting a Bumper Crop in Agritourism (Flatland KC, 2021)
Institute of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism (UT St. U. Ext.)
Is Starting an Agritourism Business Right for Your Farm? (Farm Bureau Financial Services, 2021)
Liability Releases for Agritourism Activities – Don’t Fall Prey to Myths (Foster Swift Agricultural Law News, 2020)
Marketing Your Agritourism Business (PSU Ext.)
Natural Resources Enterprises (MS St. Ext.)
North Dakota State University Ag Hub (ND St. U.)
Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program: Agritourism (U. CA-Davis)
Resources for Starting an Agricultural Tourism Business (University of Wisconsin Ext.)
Vermont Agritourism Collaborative (The University of Vermont)