The House and the Senate has approved and sent to the governor legislation amending Tennessee’s “Right to Farm Act” to help farmers who supplement their income through agritourism. The bill expands the definition of “agriculture” under current law to include entertainment activities conducted in conjunction with, but secondary to, commercial production of farm products and nursery stock.
Agritourism, or agricultural tourism, is a commercial enterprise at a working farm conducted for the enjoyment or education of visitors and that generates supplemental income for the farm owner. It is estimated that visitors spend more than $34.4 million in Tennessee each year at agritourism operations, which includes such entertainment activities as pumpkin patches, corn mazes, festivals, U-pick and tree farms. A 2013 Tennessee Supreme Court decision, however, questioned what activities constitute an agricultural activity under current law.
Senate Bill 1614 adds “the marketing of farm products in conjunction with the production of farm products and any other form of agriculture” to the definition of farm operations in the Right to Farm act. It also expands the definition of agriculture by adding “entertainment activities conducted in conjunction with, but secondary to, commercial production of farm products and nursery stock,” when such activities occur on land used in commercial production.