Ag Tourism Is a Growing Industry

Bloomery Plantation Distillery in Charles Town has attracted tourists from every U.S. state and countries as far away as Laos and Iceland. The state is watching places like it, that are part of a growing agriculture tourism trend that advocates say can help revive struggling rural economies. Ag tourism refers to working farm enterprises geared to visitors, encompassing farm stands, pumpkin patches, barn dances, zip-line rides, pick-your-own berries, corn mazes and even weddings. Farms engaging in ag tourism generated roughly $700 million in 2012 - a 24 percent increase over five years, according to the most recent U.S. Agriculture Department statistics.