Agritourism Part One: My Neighbors Have a Pick-Your-Own Fruit Farm. What Are They Doing?

Driving through the hills of Licking County, 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 of 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 offer weddings, corporate retreats, seasonal fun and games, and other similar concepts that the general public will pay to come and enjoy.
Ohio defines agritourism 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.

 

 What Qualifies as Agritourism? 

      Just because an activity occurs on a farm 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 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, 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 EQUES Law Group Help Me? 

      If you want to explore your farm’s future, EQUES Law Group has the hometown 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 skills 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 EQUES Law Group focus on the regulations and rules behind the scenes and keep your focus on creating, growing, and expanding your agritourism business. Give Robert a call today and see how we can help you transform your farm for tomorrow. 

 

Robert M. Barga

Attorney At Law

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