Agritourism is a growing opportunity for North Dakota.
Bismarck, N.D. – Growing national interest in connecting with the rural way of life is presenting North Dakota with a new tourism opportunity, and the North Dakota Tourism Division has a new program in place to promote it.
Agritourism, the practice of inviting guests to visit and/or participate in working farm or ranch activities, is enticing North Dakota families to open their doors to visitors. New legislation passed last year makes it easier and safer for rural residents to invite visitors onto their farm and ranch operations. In addition, North Dakota Tourism will implement additional marketing efforts for agritourism as a result of the legislation.
The Agritourism Liability Act’s (House Bill 1142) purpose is to provide liability protection and promote agritourism in North Dakota. This is accomplished by the creation of a registration process through which the state can assist in promoting agritourism operations and limiting liability through signage, which advises visitors of inherent risks.
Eligible entities include all of North Dakota’s working farms, ranches, gardens, wineries or agricultural operations that open their property to the public for enjoyment, outdoor recreation, activities, education, shopping, dining or lodging.
Several providers have already registered their agritourism operations with North Dakota Tourism, and Tourism Development Manager Dean Ihla encourages more of North Dakota’s agricultural operations to consider this growing tourism opportunity.
“Farms and ranches participating in agritourism activities are most often smaller niche operations that can provide urban residents with hands-on experience and an up-close-and-personal snapshot of rural life,” Ihla said.
“In addition to these, we would also like to see larger producers involved in agritourism. It’s an opportunity to educate visitors on current farm and ranch operations while showcasing our rich agricultural heritage.”
The registration includes a description of the activity or activities conducted, and the location of the agritourism operation. Registered operators will be promoted by the Department of Commerce in conjunction with all other tourism and rural development promotions. The timing and level of promotion, such as seasonal or “by appointment only” operations, will be based on the amount of business each operator is prepared to handle. There is no fee for registration, which is valid for five years.
One agritourism provider to recently take advantage of the new legislation and register his business is Rod Hogen with Red Trail Vineyard. Located near Buffalo, N.D., Red Trail Vineyard grows and harvests its own grapes and makes wine, which visitors can taste in the on-site tasting room.
“We’re excited about the additional promotion assistance we’ll get from North Dakota Tourism, as well as the liability protection, thanks to the Agritourism Liability Act,” said Hogen. “Since starting our business almost 10 years ago, we’ve done well. But, we’re looking forward to attracting even more visitors.”
Ann Hoffert, owner of Pipestem Creek Bed and Birding is another agritourism provider who has registered her business with North Dakota Tourism and sees the many benefits of this growing tourism opportunity. “I’ve hosted visitors from around the nation who come to North Dakota for our unique birding opportunities. I enjoy sharing my life-long passion of birding with my visitors, while exposing them to the great quality of life here on our rural Carrington grain farm.”
For more information on becoming an agritourism operator, please contact Ihla at the Tourism Division firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 701-328-3505.