For all the talk about sustainable agriculture, most small farms are not self-sustaining in a very basic sense: they canâ€™t make ends meet financially without relying on income from jobs off the farm.
But increasingly farmers are eking more money out of the land in ways beyond the traditional route of planting crops and raising livestock. Some have opened bed-and-breakfasts, often known as farm stays, that draw guests eager to get a taste of rural living. Others operate corn mazes â€” now jazzed up with modern fillips like maps on cellphones â€” that often turn into seasonal amusements, with rope courses and zip lines. Ranchers open their land to hunters or bring in guests to ride horses, dude ranch style.
Known as agritourism, such activities are becoming an important economic boost for many farmers.
Photo by ~Darin~.