Horses are Part of Agritourism
Agritourism, as it is defined most broadly, involves any agriculturally-based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch (Wikipedia). The U.S. horse industry contributes $39 billion in direct economic impact, according to the American Horse Council. The U.S. horse population is estimated at 9.2 million (AHC, 2005). In a separate study on “backyard” horses released in 2007, the American Horse Council found more than 3.9 million horses were used specifically for recreational activities. Of those, 1.4 million were quarter horses. Another 228,000 were thoroughbreds and 2.3 million were listed as other breeds. The backyard horse study also indicated the effect on gross domestic product was $32 billion. Of that, $11.9 billion was in direct effects and $20 billion in indirect and induced effects from horses used for the recreation industry.
Equine Agritourism consists of camps, trail rides and other opportunities where horses and entertainment co-exist. Travel/Tourism/ Agritourism includes shows, rodeos and race meets were spectators and participants from around within Iowa and around the country attend. In addition, horse boarding, bed and breakfast, horse camps, trail rides, horse camping, draft horse pulls, carriage rides and more would be included.
Agriculture Marketing Recourse Center (AgMRC) is a national information resource for value-added agriculture. The AgMRC Value-added includes directories where an equine agritourism program can be included under Value Added Agricultural Businesses.
- State Resources - Contacts of individuals and programs in each of the 50 states for value-added agriculture information specific to that state.
- Agricultural Innovation Centers - List of USDA-funded agricultural innovation centers, with an overview, subject areas of expertise, activities and contact individuals.
- Value-Added Agricultural Consultants and Service Providers - List of specialists who have registered on the site to assist producers in developing or expanding a value-added agriculture business.
- Value-Added Agricultural Businesses - List of value-added businesses that have registered on the site that can be contacted by individuals with similar interests.