US farmers turn to petting zoos and pizza parties to keep their tractors on

More and more farmers are resorting to agritourism-based “side hustles” to pay the bills.


August 12, 2019

As the American agricultural industry struggles with crappy commodity prices, worrisome weather, and troubling trade wars, many farmers are turning to seemingly unlikely sources of extra income: Side hustles.

For many farmers, these side gigs — which can range from goat yoga to haunted hayrides — are the only way to make ends meet, Axios reports.

‘Agritourism’ is an easy source of extra income

Since many high-earning Americans are willing to pay premium prices to see how farms work, farmers can sometimes use resources they already have at their disposal to make extra cash.

Some side hustles — like petting zoos, “pick-your-own” produce tours, and seasonal corn mazes — have been common for years.

Others cater to more modern tastes: Goat yoga and farmhouse Airbnb retreats cater to wellness warriors.  And farm-fresh pizza dinners — which have become immensely popular — appeal to the farm-to-table crowd.

But pizza nights aren’t just for fun — they’re for survival

According to The Denver Post, agritourism can bring in an extra $36k for a family farm — and that’s often the difference between closing and keeping the barn doors open.

Some family farms that have operated for generations report that agritourism now accounts for half of their revenue.

Side hustles are likely to continue for farmers: Colorado State University recently announced it will begin offering courses in agritourism.

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