University of Illinois Extension


Pumpkin harvest

Agritourism is a growing segment of the rural economy in many areas of Illinois. Many farm based agritourism businesses that attract customers directly to the farm gate have existed and are being developed throughout the state. These diverse businesses market a wide variety of produce, products and services to a wide variety of consumers that often value the experience of visiting a farm or rural area as much as the merchandise they purchase along the way.

What Is Agritourism?

In Illinois, agritourism is defined as any business activity that brings the public to a farm or rural setting in an effort to market farm raised or produced products or the enjoyment of related outdoor activities.

Hay buffalo

Many times agritourism includes small, local businesses found on the main streets of rural communities. These businesses that usually sell local products, antiques or offer a unique country experience, along with traditional agritourism enterprises located in the surrounding area, help to create a critical mass of attractions that can be more easily marketed to a wider variety of customers and entice those customers to travel a greater distance to visit several businesses rather than just one.

Agritourism is becoming an economic development tool for many rural communities.

Popular Examples of Illinois Agritourism

  • Pumpkin patches
  • Berry farms
  • Orchards
  • Wineries
  • Corn mazes
  • Bed and breakfasts
  • Farm markets
  • Hunting clubs (Outfitters)
  • And more!

Drivers for Agritourism Development

  • Increase farm revenue through diversification
  • Opportunities to make use of underutilized farm resources
    • Timberland or other non-tillable acreage
    • Old farm buildings
    • Older equipment and antiques
    • Labor
  • Offset costs of rural property ownership
  • Early retirement
  • Opportunities to make a business out of a hobby
    • Wine making
    • Baking
    • Crafts
    • Gardening
    • Hunting