Beckoned by agritourism, urbanites and suburbanites sometimes flock to the country to visit pumpkin patches, vineyards and petting zoos or take trail rides, getting up close and personal with large animals and equipment. What could possibly go wrong?


“Along with the continued growth and prospects of agritourism there has also been an evolution of laws and legal issues,” Peggy Hall, associate professor in Agricultural and Resource Law at Ohio State University, said in a news release.


Hall will be among speakers in a free webinar hosted by the National Agricultural Law Center at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19.


At a time when commodity prices flag and the cost to farm increases, agritourism can be seen as a means to diversify income, officials say. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, agritourism revenue grew from $704 million in 2012 to almost $950 million in 2017.


“It wasn’t that long ago that ‘agritourism’ was an unfamiliar term to the agricultural community,” Hall said. “But agritourism has been on the rise in the United States, with income tripling between 2002 and 2017.”


As the industry has evolved, however, legal issues have also arisen. Hall will discuss the evolution of agritourism and the subsequent legal changes in the free webinar. Also presenting will be Ohio State University Extension Educators Eric Barrett and Rob Leeds, who are both also agritourism operators in Ohio.


The webinar will discuss trends in the industry, litigation against agritourism operations, issues arising due to COVID-19 and how those in the industry can manage the associated risks.


Participants can register for the Aug. 19 webinar free of charge at https://bit.ly/2VTcGwn.


The National Agricultural Law Center is a unit of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and works in close partnership with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, National Agricultural Library. Details: https://nationalaglawcenter.org/ or follow @Nataglaw on Twitter.