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Agritourism Part One: My neighbors now have a pick-your-own fruit farm, what are they doing?

EQUES > Business Law  > Agritourism Part One: My neighbors now have a pick-your-own fruit farm, what are they doing?

Agritourism Part One: My neighbors now have a pick-your-own fruit farm, what are they doing?

Drive through the hills of Licking County and you will encounter numerous agritourism businesses. From an Orchard in Utica to a Tree Farm in Alexandria, to a Fruit Farm in Pataskala, your neighbors have discovered the advantage in catering to tourists from Columbus, and transforming their property into pick-your-own orchards, corn mazes, and wedding venues.  

What is Agritourism? 

       Agritourism is a rapidly spreading form of agricultural business ownership. Instead of using your farm or ranch to produce food, clothing, and other resources and materials, you can open your doors to all. While maintaining your working farm, agritourism allows you to also offer weddings, corporate retreats, seasonal fun and games, and other similar concepts that the general public will pay to come and enjoy. 

       Agritourism is defined by the State of Ohio as any “agriculturally related educational, entertainment, historical, cultural, or recreational activity*** conducted on a farm, that allows or invites members of the general public to observe, participate in or enjoy that activity.” (ORC 901.80).  This is a fairly broad category of activities and events, but it also requires some specific conditions to be met.  

 What Qualifies as Agritourism? 

       Just because an activity occurs on a farm, that does not mean it qualifies as agritourism. Instead, there must be a “primary” use or nexus between the activity and the farm work itself. If there is a primary use, incidental uses that are not tied to the farm activity would also qualify. For example, a retired farm that hosts weddings in its barn likely would not qualify as agritourism, however, if that farm is not retired, and the hay, or flowers, or grapes are grown are used in some way in the wedding, it may qualify.  

       To make it even more complicated, local health and zoning codes add additional restrictions and allowances. Sometimes, due to concerns from other members of the community, or due to the use of roads or other infrastructure, a previously allowed zoning condition will be converted into a forbidden use. Likewise, if you want to maintain a CAUV or any other form of tax or liability protection, you will need to follow those regulations as well. 

How can White Law Office Help Me? 

       If you are looking to explore your farm’s future, White Law Office, Co. has the small-town approach you want, with the top-notch talent you need. With over 50 years of legal experience, a team that understands you and your farm’s unique needs and goals, and the skill needed to win in front of a Zoning Board or in the Courtroom, we are prepared to address every concern that your agritourism business will raise.  

Let White Law Office, Co. focus on the regulations and rules behind the scenes, keep your focus on creating, growing, and expanding your agritourism business. Give Robert a call today in our new Newark location, and see how we can help you transform your farm for tomorrow. 

Robert M. Barga

Attorney At Law

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