Getting Started

How we can help your farm get started

Agritourism has become one of the fastest growing tourism markets and an excellent way for farms to increase their revenue. However, there are several things agritourism operators need to know to make their operation a success.

We have developed resources to guide you through the process of starting your own agritourism operation. Below we have provided links to several resources to educate current operators and assist those wishing to start an operation.

Additionaly, VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s official source for travel planning, awarded a Cultural, Heritage, Rural and Nature (CHRN) Grant to the Florida Agritourism Association for the 2014-2015 Fiscal Year. These funds were used to create a Florida Agritourism Toolkit which provides expansive information and resources for agritourism operators related to both the marketing and technical aspects of running an agritourism operation. In 2017, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services generously supported a revision of this toolkit. You may view the toolkit here or order a hard copy from our Store.

You may view our toolkit here.

The Florida Agritourism Association (FATA) was founded in 2013 by a group of dedicated volunteers. We are passionate about creating awareness about and opportunities for Florida agritourism operators. Our Board of Directors are agritourism operators elected by their member peers. They represent a diverse cross-section of Florida farms both operationally and geographically. It is our vision to operate a robust organization that will both promote our member’s agritourism operations, and will also protect and expand the ability for operators to prosper.

Along with these valuable resources, if you wish to speak with one of our board members or staff, please feel free to contact us visitfloridafarms@gmail.com at any time. We are here to help you start and/or grow your agritourism operation through educational offerings, marketing/promotion opportunities and advocacy/awareness of impacts to our industry.  We will also hold educational workshops and networking events around the state. We welcome all current and future agritorism operators as members. To qualify as an agritourism operator, you must have property that is classified agriculturally tax exempt under Florida’s Greenbelt law as designated and administered by county property appraisers. We are excited to begin this adventure with you!

Development

Agritourism can be an exciting new enterprise for you. However, inviting the public to your farm increases your liability and legal responsibilities. It is important that as an agritourism operator you understand these inherent risks.  We are here to help educate you about these risks and provide information to make sure you are fully protected. The founders of our association were instrumental in passing the Florida Agritourism Laws in 2013 and 2016. The highlights of the law include: a definition of agritourism activities, guidelines for liability protections; liability signage requirements; and local government restrictions.

With the 2013 and 2016 additions to Florida’s Agritourism Law, the Legislature signaled its intent to eliminate duplication of regulatory authority over agritourism and provide needed legal protection for Florida agritourism businesses. It prohibits a local government from prohibiting, restricting, regulating, or otherwise limiting an agritourism activity on land that has been classified as agricultural by a property appraiser.

Most importantly, the law establishes a limitation on legal liability from the inherit risks for the land owner, agritourism operator, and employees if a notice of risk is posted on the land. The law clarifies and expands the definition of “agritourism activity” and creates a new definition for “inherent risks of an agritourism activity.”

“This law removes the regulatory roadblocks holding back Florida’s agritourism industry,” says Timothy Riley with the law firm Hopping, Green & Sams, P.A., and one of Florida’s leading environmental attorneys. Modeling the work of several other states, this legislation offers some protection against costly personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits related to the inherent risks of an agritourism activity.”

The bill defines an “Agritourism activity” means any agricultural related activity consistent with a bona fide farm or ranch or in a working forest which allows members of the general public, for recreational, entertainment, or educational purposes, to view or enjoy activities, including farming, ranching, historical, cultural, or harvest-your-own activities and attractions. An agritourism activity does not include the construction of new or additional structures or facilities intended primarily to house, shelter, transport, or otherwise accommodate members of the general public. An activity is an agritourism activity whether or not the participant paid to participate in the activity.

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