October Agritourism

Reported by: Webb Wright
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Updated: 10/03/2013 6:47 pm
Pamela Bartholomew of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture:
        "It's great for the entire community, it's great for the economy and it's great for the farmer..."
     October means it's time for hayrides and pumpkin picking but for local farmers, it means a lot more.

Josh Guthrie of Guthrie's Farm and Corn Maze says,
        "If it rains on a Saturday morning it kinda kills you for the weekend and if you've only got 4 weekends that's huge."

     For one month out of the year, farms like this are open to the public for some family fun. Tourist activities, like their corn maze and Redneck Zombie Paintball, help supplement farm revenue in a big way.

Guthrie says, "It probably makes up about half of our farm income."

        According to a recent study by the Department of Agriculture, over the past ten years Agritourism has doubled in income for the state of TN, ten years ago it was bringing 16 million dollars annually now its over 32 million dollars.
        In the 13 years since Guthrie has been in the industry, it's completely changed the way he does business. 

        "We're in the cattle biz, we're price takers not makers. Whatever the market says, that's what they're worth; whereas, on an activity like this, we're kinda the price makers."

     School field trips make up a large part of the customer base for Guthrie Co. Farm and Corn Maze.

Ooltewah Elementary Kindergarten teacher Jackie Henry says,
        "This is a great trip it's well worth the money, because they have so many different activities and things for the kids."

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