What is agri-tourism? Is it tractor driving and Oregon Trail classes? Not exactly. The global agri-tourism market size was valued at USD 69.24 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 117.37 billion by 2027. And Iowa is getting a share of that pot! Kara Grupp, operator of Three Pines Farm near Cedar Falls explains why people are visiting Iowa farms as a tourist destination and why “glamping” is the hot new thing.
In the USA, Agritourism income grew by 67% over 10 years, from 2007 to 2017. In 2017, 28,575 farms offered agri-tourism, generating $949 million in sales and direct-to-consumer sales in that same period brought in $2.8 billion in sales for 130,056 farms.
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What is Glamping?
“Glamping” or luxury camping is a hot new trend. We’re all familiar with camping. You set up a nylon tent, bring a sleeping bag, and rough it. But glamping on an Iowa farm is very different. You have a normal bed, a luxurious tent, actual bed sheets, furniture, nice furnishings, running water, and in some cases an outdoor shower!
Grupp explains how agriculture has changed in Iowa, and what led her from working with DNA at Iowa State to helping run her Iowa family farm to help start an agri-tourism business. It turns out, Iowa farmers are discovering people in the USA have a craving to unplug and get away from the chaos of the city. In the past they may have gone to a beach, the lake or a mountain, but people are discovering the beauty of Iowa’s rolling hills, grasslands, pasture and yes, cornfields!
Agri-tourism is big business and is a brilliant secondary revenue stream for Iowa farmers. Because so many people are interested in sustainable practices and farm-to-table practices farmers are known for, Iowa is the perfect place to take it all in.
Grubb also explains how a little-known Iowa law helped encourage more agri-tourism in Iowa.