The Role of Agritourism in Western States: Place-Specific and Policy Factors Influencing Recreational Income for Producers
Joshua Wilson, Dawn Thilmany, Phil Watson
While public investment in conservation such as the Conservation Reserve and Wetlands Reserve Programs have improved the environmental state of the lands, they have not provided an institutional means for production and profit expansion for the same acreage. This type of public investment places constraints on the lands agriculturally and in return provides rents to land owners. As a complement to this income, CRP and WRP may also contribute to a series of recreational opportunities outside of the generalized uses for farmland. The research question proposed is: does public investment in natural resources pay off through expanded opportunities in agritourism? Agritourism includes recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing. This research explores the viability of operating such alternative uses for agricultural lands while maintaining the integrity of the conservation program in which the same acreage is coincidently enrolled. Ultimately three econometric models were generated in attempt to explain the influence of various explanatory variables on recreational services revenue. In addition to the econometric analysis, ArcGis 9.0 was implemented to assess geo-spatial factors influencing the dependent variable.