Small Group Exercise 1 Agriculture is one of the largest and oldest industries in the world. In the United States and many other countries, farmers often struggle to turn a profit given the variances of weather and commodity prices. Some working farms are turning to tourism as an additional and complementary revenue source. A study from the U.S. Census of Agriculture in 2007 found nearly 25,000 farms providing some level of agritourism and recreation services. While this number was actually down from the 2002 census, revenues overall had more than doubled, from roughly $202,200 in 2002 to roughly $567,000 in 2007. In 2014, in response to rapid growth, the National Agritourism Professionals Association was formed to help farmers learn how to add this aspect of business to their traditional farms and ranches. Perhaps one of the most successful large companies leading this marriage of industries is a dairy farm in Indiana: Fair Oaks Farms (www.fofarms.com). Fair Oaks Farms is home to 30,000 cows and produces enough milk to feed 8 million people. Fair Oaks is also participating in the education market as a popular destination for school field trips. Other attractions include the Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Birthing Barn,Ă˘â‚¬Âť where calf births can be viewed live; the Cheese Factory; and Mooville, a themed outdoor play area. Each year, Fair Oaks Farms hosts more than 500,000 tourists, who come to see the hands-on adventure center and the working milking operations. A video of the operation by the CEO is available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dz_gE4887. Such ingenious business diversification can offer many benefits to the agriculture industry.
Ă‚Â 1. What other industrial or commercial industries could benefit from such potential tourist or recreational revenues? Discuss what new and complementary capabilities would need to be developed in order to succeed.
2. In your group, list other industry combinations you have seen be successful. Consider why you think the combination has been a success.
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