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’ Recreational Use Statutes
Compilation of States’ Equine Activity Statutes

Case Law

Case Law Index for Agritourism

Center Research Publications

Ten Legal Issues for Farm Stay Operators (Hall & Wood, 2020)
Recent Agritourism Litigation in the United States (Hall & Essman, 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’ Agritourism Statutes (Rumley & Mirus, 2021)
States’ Recreational Use Statutes (Springsteen & Rumley, 2009)
General Legal Issues for Community Farmers Market Managers to Consider (Crocker)
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

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)

Alternative Enterprises and Agritourism- Farming for Profit and Sustainability (NCRS)

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)


Defining and Regulating Agritourism: Trends in State Agritourism Legislation 2019-2020 (Center for Agriculture and Food Systems)
Zoning and Health Considerations in Agritourism (Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, 2007)
Resources for Agritourism Development (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, 1995)
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)
New Checklists Help Agritourism Operators Measure Risk (Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, 2019)
Agritourism Destination Licensing Guide (KS Dept. of Agriculture, 2020)
Finding Your Niche: A Marketing Guide for Kansas Farms  (Kansas Rural Center, 2013)
Agritourism Fact Sheet (LSU Research and Extension)
Liability Releases for Agritourism Activities – Don’t Fall Prey to Myths (Foster Swift Agricultural Law News, 2020)
Is an Agritourism Venture Right for Your Farm? (Rutgers, 2010)
Court of Appeals Confirms Decision Not to Allow Weddings on Hay Farm as “Agritourism” (Hall, 2020)
Managing Liability: Legal Liability in Agritourism and Direct Marketing Operations (Virginia Cooperative Extension)

Additional Resources

Is Starting an Agritourism Business Right for Your Farm? (Farm Bureau Financial Services, 2021)
Culinary and Agritourism: Direct Marketing Strategies (Washington State Dept. of Agriculture, 2019)
Planning for Agritourism: A Guide for Local Governments and Indiana Farmers (IN, Dept. of Agri., 2019)
Diversification Through “Fun in the Farm”: Analyzing Structural Factors Affecting Agritourism in Tennessee (Khanal, Honey & Omobitan, 2019)
The Rise of the Local Food Movement and its Impact on Rural Economies: With Examples From the Region of Durham (Jibb, 2019)
Agritourism Allows Farms to Diversity and Has Potential Benefits for Rural Communities (Whitt, Low & Van Sandt, 2019)
Indiana State Department of Agriculture Agritourism Page (IN, Dept. of Agri., 2018)
Is Your Tribe Ready for Agritourism? (American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association, 2017)
Getting Started in Agritourism (Cornell University Cooperative Extension- Roth & Ochterski, 2016)
Resource Guide for Direct-to-Consumer Sales and Agritourism Operations (Georgia Agritourism, 2016)
Agricultural and Culinary Tourism: Translating Opportunity into Farm Profitability (Lewis & Godin, 2015)
Agritourism Guidebook: Hawai’i County (University of Hawai’i, 2015)
Agritourism Farms Are More Diverse Than Other U.S. Farms (Bagi, 2014)
Using Alternative Enterprises to Bolster Farm Incomes (Tullos, 2012)
O’ahu Agritourism Guidebook (O’ahu Resource Conservation & Development Council, 2011)
National Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils, Inc.
Agritourism Enterprises on your Farm or Ranch: Where to start (U. CA-Davis, 2008)
Entertainment Farming and Agri-Tourism (ATTRA, 2004)
Motivation for Agri-Tourism Entrepreneurship (McGehee & Kim, 2004)
Agritourism: Motivations Behind Farm/Ranch Business Diversification (Nickerson, Black & McCool, 2001)
Agri-Tourism (Virginia Cooperative Extension)
Extension Training for Agritourism Development (Rutgers: New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station)
Agritourism Emergency Response & Legal Liability Assessment Checklist  (Rutgers: New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station)
Indiana Permitting & Zoning Resource Guide for Agritourism Operators (IN, Dept. of Agri.)
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., 2017)
Agritourism (U. of FL Ext.)
Florida Agritourism Toolkit (Florida Agritourism Association)
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)
North Dakota State University Ag Hub (ND St. U.)
Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program: Agritourism (U. CA-Davis)
State Definitions of Agritourism (Maryland Department of Agriculture)
Agritourism (University of Maryland Extension)
Agritourism (MS, Dept. of Agri.)
Marketing – Agritourism (NC, Dept. of Agri. & Consumer Services)
Agritourism (OR State University Extension Service)
Agritourism (SC Department of Agriculture)
Agritourism (State of Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets)
Vermont Agritourism Collaborative (The University of Vermont)
Agritourism (West Virginia Extension Service)
Agritourism (West Virginia Department of Agriculture)
Agritourism (State of WI: Dept. of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection)
Agritourism (Colorado Dept. of Agriculture)
Oklahoma Agritourism (Oklahoma Dept. of Agriculture, Food & Forestry)
Agritourism Liability(Pennsylvania Farm Bureau)
Agritourism Safety – Integrating Safety into Agritourism