Agritourism is defined as "The act of visiting a working farm or any agricultural, horticultural, or agribusiness operations for the purpose of enjoyment, education or active involvement in the activities of the farm or operation."
As Kentucky tobacco farmers move forward in the post-tobacco quota buyout economy, many aspects of the agricultural landscape have changed. No longer is there a guaranteed market for the producer who raised tobacco. Many tobacco producers in Kentucky have either quit raising tobacco or greatly reduced the amount of tobacco that they raise. These producers are looking for ways to make up for that lost tobacco income. Agritourism venues and events can provide additional income to farmers and the rural communities that they live in. Agritourism is not a replacement for tobacco, but it can be a means of earning supplemental income that can help preserve and sustain family farms. Agritourism is one way to "add value" to existing agricultural assets such as crops, livestock and the natural resources that the farm has to offer.
Agritourism offers an opportunity to build relationships between the agricultural community and the local tourism industry by incorporating tour groups, educating school children and hosting civic events. This increases rural economic development dollars in areas with agritourism venues. The ultimate goal of an agritourism venue is to increase net farm income by filling customer needs for education and recreation on the farm.
Today most Kentuckians have no direct connection to farm life, even in rural areas. Agritourism gives people an opportunity to better understand the skill and hard work that go into producing the food and fiber we all enjoy. It's also a chance for great food and clean country fun at destinations that are close to home.
View our list of agricultural related events going on in Kentucky or submit your event for posting.
Kentucky is a state so enriched with interesting history and heritage, music and arts, sports and outdoors, there always seems to be a fun festival celebrating a Kentucky something or somebody.
Kentucky's dynamic agritourism industry provides activities and 'on-farm' experiences for visitors throughout the year. From enjoying fresh berries at a market in the spring, to a hay ride through the pumpkin patch in the fall, there is always an exciting experience around the corner at one of Kentucky's many Agritourism sites.
The Kentucky Agritourism Industry is an integral part of Kentucky's Tourism and Agriculture Industries. That is why the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Kentucky Tourism Office are working together to promote events throughout Kentucky.
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Click here to download your Kentucky Agritourism limited liability warning sign at-cost form. Download the form here.
Agritourism is a growing industry in the United States and presents a number of opportunities for Kentucky farmers. The links on this page provide various resources available to farmers and others interested in the industry.
To help you entertain and educate classroom groups, we want to make this information about your farm's setup available to interested teachers.
The Kentucky Farms Are Fun website offers a free resource for Kentucky's Agribusinesses to promote their Agritourism Venue.
Kentucky Farm Bureau certifies and provides promotion for roadside farm markets in Kentucky which meet established standards for the program. The program allows the market operators to obtain statewide advertising as a way to expand their market areas and increase sales.
This site provides an interactive tool to allow small business operators to locate the closest service provider for face-to-face help with their business.
A marketing study of the Kentucky Agritourism industry was conducted in 2005 by The Glengariff Group, Inc.
KCARD is a non-profit 501(c)-3 organization established to facilitate agricultural and rural business development in Kentucky. KCARD provides educational opportunities, technical assistance, and business support services to new and existing agribusinesses.
Kentucky MarketMaker is an interactive mapping system that locates businesses and markets of agricultural products in Kentucky, providing an important link between producers and consumers.
The Small Business Development Centers in Kentucky provide management assistance to current and prospective small business owners. SBDCs offer one-stop assistance to individuals and small businesses by providing a wide variety of information and guidance in central and easily accessible branch locations.
This resource was prepared in response to requests from local advisors, farmers, and ranchers for a simple guide to the first step in identifying alternative income-producing agricultural enterprises and agritourism opportunities. The requests stipulated that the guide be useful in developing business and marketing plans to help entrepreneurs reduce risk through diversification of farm and ranch enterprises.
There are two basic reasons for preparing a business plan. First, it requires the entrepreneur to investigate thoroughly the factors that will have a bearing on the success of the business. Second, it will enhance the ability of the entrepreneur to secure financing by providing an organized overview of the venture for lenders and investors. It also provides insight into the entrepreneur's ability to define and develop strategies for critical area of the business.
There are many resources to assist in writing a business plan. Several links are listed below:
Small Business Administration - www.sba.gov
Kentucky Small Business Development Centers - www.KSBDC.org
Creating a Business Plan, University of California Small Farm Center
Developing a Winning Business Plan.
Kentucky Department of Agriculture
1011 Corporate Drive
Frankfort, KY 40601
Bluegrass Agritourism Association
Central Kentucky Agritourism Association
Foothills Eastern Kentucky Eco-Agritourism Corporation
Gateway Agritourism Association
River Valley Agritourism Alliance
Southern & Eastern Kentucky Tourism Development Association
West Kentucky Agritourism
Eastern Highlands-South Region
Representing: Speaker of House of Representative
Representing: Buffalo Trace Covered Bridge Authority
Representing: Kentucky Associations of Fairs & Horse Shows
Senator Jimmy Higdon
Representing: President of the Senate
Matt Chaliff, Agriculture Education Consultant
Representing: Kentucky Education Cabinet
Roger Thomas, GOAP
Representing: The Governor of the Commonwealth
Shannon Hutchinson, Wayne County Community Development
Representing: Southern Lakes and Rivers Region
Kristen Branscum, Ex. Director of Marketing
Representing:Kentucky Department of Agriculture
Most Kentuckians are two, three, or more generations removed from agriculture. Many Kentucky farm destinations offer activities and exhibits that enable the whole family to reconnect with the source of their food and fiber. Kids can get their hands dirty in a garden, ride a pony, see livestock up close, and enjoy the sights and sounds (and smells!) of a working farm in a safe, wholesome environment. They will leave thrilled at all they've seen and done while gaining an appreciation for farming that will last a lifetime.
Just before Thanksgiving, most Kentucky Christmas tree farms open for folks who appreciate the smell of a fresh, homegrown pine tree to decorate for the holidays. For many families, an outing to the nearest Christmas tree farm marks the official start of the Christmas season. Families like the experience of taking the kids out to find and cut their own tree. Others prefer to let somebody else do the cutting and purchase their tree from one of the 90 Kentucky Proud businesses in the Commonwealth that sell Christmas trees.
Kentucky's world-famous distilleries provide visitors the opportunity to visit and see how our unparalleled spirits are made. Take a tour and follow the process step by step. Take a deep breath in the warehouse and steal just a hint of the "angel's share." Take a bottle of "liquid gold" home with you — but, please, enjoy it responsibly! You also can find Kentucky Proud breweries that make unique, hand-crafted beers — including some aged in used bourbon barrels for a one-of-a-kind taste that's the best of both worlds.
Most Kentuckians have no direct connection to farm life, even in rural areas. Farm attractions help people to understand the skill and hard work that go into producing the food and fiber we all depend upon. It's also a chance to enjoy great Kentucky Proud food and clean, affordable country fun at destinations that are close to home. Farm attractions enable farmers to earn supplemental income that can help preserve and sustain their family farms. Attractions "add value" to existing crops, livestock, and the natural resources that farms have to offer.
Visit a Kentucky farmers' market, where local farm families offer wholesome produce in a country-carnival atmosphere. Meet the people who produced the food you'll serve to your family. Feel the pride and care in the hands that made the food and now pass it on to you. Look for that little "something extra" for your home — cut flowers, maybe, or homemade soaps and lotions, or arts and crafts. Enjoy live entertainment from local musicians. You'll go away feeling happy, healthy, and connected to your local food culture.
A Kentucky Bed & Breakfast can make you feel like royalty. Kentucky B&Bs span the complete range from farm or log cabin lodgings to luxurious mansions and historic inns. There's one to fit your needs that is just a short hop from Kentucky horse farms and racing, bourbon or wine tours, Mammoth Cave, arts and crafts attractions, golf courses, Civil War sites, Appalachian heritage, music, or outdoor adventures. Some B&Bs feature lounges, taverns, spas, and other luxury services. Some can host reunions, meetings, weddings, or other group functions. You will experience pampered service and the charm of gracious living and unique Kentucky hospitality.
On a Kentucky Farm Stay, you feel the rhythms of the food-growing experience. You might be guests in an active farmhouse. Your hosts might have converted a building into rooms of luxury quality, or they might offer a bracing outdoor camping experience. You might even get to lend a hand with the chores or see them demonstrated — either way, a priceless education. Some destinations offer classes in farm crafts such as cheese-making, gardening, spinning, and cooking. These farms offer guests the unique experience of learning what the farm means to the families of America.
Most people think of horses when they think of Kentucky, and no wonder. In Kentucky, you can visit legendary Churchill Downs, site of "the greatest two minutes in sports." Just down the road at Keeneland, you can experience "racing as it was meant to be" or stroll down to the sale barn and watch as the rich and famous try to pick out a future Kentucky Derby winner. A short distance to the north, you can tour the Kentucky Horse Park. Some of Kentucky's world-famous horse farms welcome visitors by appointment. And that's just the beginning of all the attractions dedicated to Kentucky's equine athletes.
Kentucky's soil, topography, and climate make it ideal for raising livestock, and numerous attractions and events are dedicated to Kentucky's livestock industry. The leading beef cattle state east of the Mississippi River, Kentucky hosts the Kentucky Farm Bureau Beef Expo every March. In November, Louisville welcomes the world to the North American International Livestock Exposition, the world's largest purebred livestock show. Some Kentucky farms offer an up-close look at alpacas, goats, llamas, sheep, and even bison. Young livestock exhibitors vie for Kentucky Proud Points in local livestock shows leading to the Kentucky State Fair in August.
At Kentucky museums and historical sites, you can enjoy and appreciate Kentucky's rich and diverse culture, including its agricultural heritage. Visit the Lexington home of early American statesman and Bluegrass farmer Henry Clay, who produced beef cattle, race horses, and industrial hemp. See the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, named for the Commonwealth's preeminent historian, who wrote extensively about Kentucky's agrarian past. Celebrate all things equine at the International Museum of the Horse and the Kentucky Derby Museum. Stop at a historic farm for a glimpse of Kentucky farm life in days gone by.
You can experience the arboretum and formal garden experience in Kentucky at destinations such as the State Capitol's floral clock, the state Arboretum in Lexington, My Old Kentucky Home in Bardstown, and many others in all regions of the state. Most feature year-round colors and plants, with activities of interest to all ages. Walking trails with sculpture, amphitheaters, lakes, special theme gardens, butterfly gardens, animal topiaries, moon gardens, and other thematic features underscore the abundant beauty of nature.
Kentucky Proud nurseries, greenhouses, gardens, and horticulture farms have the plants you need to start that backyard garden, give your house some curb appeal, spruce up your home or office, or for any other purpose. Some of these family-owned operations offer workshops to help you get the most value from your plants. All of them provide breathtaking displays that will spark your imagination!
Every fall, the Commonwealth explodes with flavor and color as cities, towns, and farm destinations celebrate the harvest season with mouth-watering Kentucky Proud foods, entertainment, hayrides, corn mazes, and many other attractions for the entire family. But fresh, flavorful fruits and vegetables are yours for the buying — or the picking — through much of the year. Visit a Kentucky Proud orchard or u-pick farm for foods that are both good and good for you — and have fun at the same time.
Some Kentucky farm sites defy categorization. So they end up here. These destinations promise a uniquely Kentucky farm experience. Shoot a shotgun or an arrow. Drop a line in a pay lake. Treat your significant other to a luxurious ride in a horse-drawn carriage. Marvel at the skill of some of Kentucky's master crafts makers. Enjoy the beauty of a botanical garden. If you're looking for something different, you've come to the right place.
A great Kentucky restaurant can be found in cities large or small, or in no city at all, in an out-of-the-way location off the beaten path. It might be housed in a stately mansion, or it might be — well, let's just say, where you least expect it. Many restaurants serve local Kentucky Proud foods — fruits and vegetables harvested at the peak of freshness; country ham cured the traditional way; delicious artisan cheeses; unique sauces and salsas, and much more. Kentucky restaurants serve high-end fare and burgers worthy of the leading beef cattle state east of the Mississippi — and everything in between.
Drive Kentucky's rural roads and chances are you'll come across a sign advertising a farm selling fresh produce, meats, plants, or value-added products. Some of these are independent "mom and pop" farm stores. Others are members of a network of Kentucky Farm Bureau Certified Roadside Farm Markets, a program that began in 1996 to help farmers sell their fruits and vegetables directly from roadside markets to consumers across the Commonwealth. Since then, the program has expanded to include other farm products such as cheese, meat, and fiber.
Take a break from the rat race and go for a trail ride at a Kentucky farm destination. Slow down, enjoy Kentucky's natural wonders, and experience the unique connection between human and horse. Depending on the destination, you can spend the night in a comfortable bed and breakfast, pull in your RV, or pitch a tent. Some facilities offer lessons to help young riders get a good start on a pastime they will enjoy all their lives.
With more than 65 wineries located throughout the Commonwealth, a trip to wine country is never far away. Enjoy award-winning wines in serene settings, stroll through beautiful vineyards, and discover an unforgettable wine experience that's uniquely Kentucky. From a bold Norton brimming with peppery spice, dark fruit aromas and firm tannins to the enticingly floral bouquet of a delicately sweet Vidal Blanc, Kentucky's wineries offer a wine to please any palate and accompany every occasion.
Famous for the Kentucky Horse Parks and farms and scenic drives past beautiful pasture land, the Kentucky Bluegrass Region is truly a horse-lover's paradise. And, for those in the know, it's so much more.
Lexington, Kentucky's second-largest city and the Horse Capital of the World, offers a vibrant mix of historic sites, shopping, attractions, dining and nightlife. Visit the State Botanical Garden of Kentucky, the Railroad Museum and the world renowned Kentucky Horse Park where you can pet champion thoroughbreds. Lincoln's Lexington Walking Tour encompasses 18 historic sites in this beautiful city.
Explore the Capitol Grounds and the Kentucky History Center in the Kentucky capital city of Frankfort; tour Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, America's largest restored Shaker community; enjoy exceptional thoroughbred racing in Keeneland and spend an evening at Kentucky's oldest outdoor dinner theatre, the lively Pioneer Playhouse in Danville. Play outdoors, visit pioneer, Civil War and living history exhibits, take the Woodland Reserve Distillery Tour and enjoy your vacation in the beautiful Kentucky Bluegrass Region.
Home to the famed National Corvette Museum, Bowling Green is a friendly, fun city located less than one hour north of Nashville. Visit Lost River Cave and Valley, home to Kentucky's only underground boat tour or take a ride on the Kentucky Rumbler, the most twisted wooden roller coaster in seven states. Shop and enjoy eclectic dining choices in Bowling Green's historic downtown square.
Take guided or a wild cave explorations in the underground world of Kentucky's Cave Country. Marvel at one of the most spectacular and vast adventures in Kentucky - Mammoth Cave National Park, the world's longest cave system and tour the Crystal Onyx Cave where pre-historic finds have made it an important archeological site. With six beautiful lakes including the Barren River State Resort Park, you can enjoy water sports, rentals, lodging and vacation amenities that fit all ages and interests from world-class fishing enthusiasts to families and resort-style vacationers. With some of the greatest attractions in Kentucky – Mammoth Cave National Park, theme parks, and the National Corvette Museum – Bowling Green, Cave Country and all the rest of the Caves, Lakes and Corvettes region is a can't-miss stop in the Bluegrass State.
With the breathtaking beauty of the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky as a backdrop, you'll find grand adventure and a friendly welcome always waiting for you in the Kentucky Appalachian region. Enjoy your stay or drop by for the day at one of our scenic mountain and mountain/lake state parks including Carter Caves State Resort Park. Fish, boat, hike, take an RV ride or follow some of the finest horse trails in Kentucky. Tour a cave or enjoy world-class golf on one of the remarkably scenic mountain courses at Carter Caves State Resort Park.
Appalachian arts, history, crafts, music and culture are celebrated and honored in our festivals, museums, arts centers and historic sites including the Highland Museum and Discovery Center, national Kentucky Folk Arts Center, Coal Miners Museum, Mountain HomePlace, an actual Civil war era working farm as it was from 1850-1875. Enjoy live performances at the historic Paramount Arts Center. Explore the Appalachian region's contribution to the music of America at the US 23 Country Music Highway museum, enjoy our local cuisine and shop for unique gifts and Appalachian arts from local Kentucky artists. For a memory-making, affordable vacation in the heart of the U.S.A, make plans to visit the friendly and welcoming Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky.
The drama of nature's untamed splendor offers adventure and excitement in Kentucky's Daniel Boone Country. Whether your brand of fun is high impact adventure or a relaxed retreat, we can show you how to make the most of your visit in Kentucky's grand outdoors.
Learn the ropes on rock climbing walls or take a "real deal" rock climbing course at Torrent Falls. Wheel your way along the ATV trails of the Black Mountain Off-road Adventure Park or enjoy a relaxed scenic drive along mountain by-ways. The Cumberland Gap, the Daniel Boone National Forest and the Red River Gorge and Natural Bridge are awe-inspiring works of nature.
Camp out or explore our scenic region from the comfort of your cabin, lodge or motel room. With five beautiful scenic and historic parks such as Cumberland Falls State Park, Kentucky Daniel Boone Country offers recreational fun and a variety of affordable lodging, shopping and dining options.
Home to world-famous Kentucky barbecue and music legends, Bill Monroe, the Everly Brothers and W.C. Handy, the Bluegrass, Blues & Barbecue region of Kentucky invites you to travel the roads of tradition. Visit Bill Monroe's birthplace and learn more about him at the International Bluegrass Music Museum. Enjoy music festivals, Civil War re-enactments, Ellis Park Racetrack, Broadway shows, outdoor adventure and more.
Owensboro, Kentucky's Festival City, is home to the International Bluegrass Music Museum. Take a ghost tour or hop on the River City Trolley to visit historic downtown and other major shopping destinations. Home to John J. Audubon, the world's greatest naturalist, Henderson offers music, art, history and adventure, year-round festivals and a historic downtown area with fun eateries and quaint shops.
You will find unique museums and art galleries throughout the region, as well as, natural wonders such as the Western Kentucky Botanical Gardens, the Dogwood Azalea Trail, two Wildlife Management Areas, and the John James Audubon State Park. Visit working nurseries, orchards, and farms and get a taste of Kentucky.
Built on the falls of the Ohio River, Louisville offers all the action of a big city with the charm and friendliness of a small town. Louisville is the location of the Kentucky Derby and world-class museums such as the Louisville Slugger Museum and the Muhammad Ali Center. Enjoy the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts and the Louisville Zoo. Follow Louisville's Urban Bourbon Trail, shop at a Louisville flea market, take a river cruise and play in the city's two entertainment districts featuring restaurants, clubs and live entertainment.
Want to explore a great president's life, legacy and birthplace? Abraham Lincoln was born in this region of Kentucky; learn more about the life and legend of Abraham Lincoln at sites along Kentucky's Lincoln Heritage Trail.
Tour world-famous bourbon distilleries in Kentucky on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, enjoy live theater or take a ghost trek walking tour in Bardstown, the Bourbon Capital of the World. Discover the bounty of Kentucky at Bray Orchards; shop for antiques and crafts in historic Elizabethtown or enjoy unique shopping, restaurants and golf in Shelbyville, the American Saddlebred Capital of the World. Make plans to explore the location of the Kentucky Derby and the region's extensive history and bourbon attractions.
One of the state's most popular sporting and family vacation destinations with over 1200 miles of shoreline, it's hard to pass up Lake Cumberland - cabins, record-breaking fishing, water adventures and breath-taking scenery are all in one place. Lake Cumberland boat rentals are available for the most fun on the water.
Discover the heritage and history of the counties bordering the lake at the Mill Springs Civil War Battlefield, the National Cemetery and Mill Springs Park, home of the world's largest working water-wheel. In all of the region's lakes and rivers, from Big South Fork National River to Lake Cumberland, boat rentals, fishing, boating, and outfitters are among the best in the state.
Check out scenic Daniel Boone National Forest camping and the Big South Fork National River and Recreation area and take a scenic railway trip deep into the heart of what was coal country. Enjoy restaurants, galleries, museums, theater productions, concerts, annual festivals, car and boat shows, and the works of local artisans and craftsmen in our inviting small towns throughout the region.
Get revved up to take in Northern Kentucky's fastest attraction, Kentucky Speedway, where cars race on the state of the art track that seats 106,000 and allows campers and RV's a front row seat. For music lovers, see the hottest country stars live at the Country Stampede or listen to bluegrass music at a live entertainment venue.
The river front cities of Covington and Newport show off the quaint MainStrasse Village as well as the mega-entertainment complex of Newport on the Levee, offering numerous nightclubs, riverside dining, shopping and cinemas along with the world-renown Newport Aquarium.
If you are fascinated by the history of the Underground Railroad, then Augusta is the place to visit, featuring numerous historic homes that are part of Kentucky black history for taking part in assisting slaves across the river to freedom. There's a lot to love about the Northern River region of Kentucky. Newport Aquarium will help you rediscover your sense of wonder, MainStrasse Village is a pleasant place to stop for low-key dining and shopping and the Kentucky Speedway always promises a roaring good time. Come find out what you're missing!
Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley and the Land Between the Lakes is a popular vacation destination with all the water recreation imaginable - fish, ski, sail, tube, kayak, jet ski, drag race, swim and relax. Enjoy outdoor recreation such as hiking, biking, horseback riding and ATVing on off-road vehicle trails.
Dine in restaurants overlooking the lakes, enjoy live entertainment at Grand Rivers Badgett Playhouse, take in a movie at an old fashioned drive-in, shop at the largest single antique mall between Saint Louis and Nashville, visit art museums and play with us at one of our award-winning festivals.
Our friendly communities and historic hamlets provide visitors with surprising opportunities for entertainment, activity and inspiration. Play golf in the #1 retirement destination in the US, visit Kentucky's largest Amish community, shop in a railroad town transformed into an antique shoppers heaven, travel through lush farmland rich in Native American history, or visit a "living house" museum. Take a walking tour of Paducah's historic downtown to discover quality museums like the National Quilt Museum and the River Discovery Center. Enjoy an inviting mix of unique restaurants and shops and visit with working artisans in their LowerTown Paducah studios.