This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Understanding the Alabama agritourism industry: Motivation, value, and cost




Casey, Meredith

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Curriculum and Teaching


Agritourism, the business of hosting visitors on a farm or ranch, is a popular diversification strategy for farmers and ranchers for a myriad of reasons. Understanding why farmers and ranchers choose to start agritourism operations is critical for building relevant educational resources and supporting a thriving industry. This descriptive study assessed multiple factors associated with the agritourism industry in Alabama including the motivations of Alabama farmers to diversify their properties with agritourism, the most resource-intensive activities associated with agritourism, the self-efficacy of operators regarding common agritourism tasks, the agritourism activities offered by Alabama farmers, and personal characteristics of study respondents. Data was analyzed using SPSS and was reported using descriptive statistics. Respondents in general use agritourism activities to support their agricultural production business by generating more income, maximizing farm resources, and building relationships with their communities. General farm upkeep is the most demanding activity for Alabama agritourism operators in terms of time, money, and personal labor. Study participants believed in their ability to accomplish a range of tasks associated with agritourism. Three-quarters of respondents strongly agreed that they were confident interacting with visitors on the farm, minimizing risks, and marketing using social media. Educational resources developed for Alabama agritourism operators should focus on high-leverage, low input strategies to maximize income and resources, specific ways to make agritourism operations accessible for all guests, and legislation that is pertinent to agritourism operations. The data collected from this study will be used by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System to create educational resources for Alabama agritourism operators.