Increasing interest in agricultural education, tourism and entertainment in Montgomery County has prompted discussion about ways to enhance the economic opportunities in the county’s award-winning Agricultural Reserve. While the 1980 Preservation of Agriculture and Rural Open Space Functional Master Plan focused on the preservation of farming in Montgomery County, it did not anticipate the growing importance of agricultural-economic development to the ongoing preservation effort.
Important emerging issues in agricultural-economic development, such as agritourism, farm-to-table activities, increased interest in small-scale wineries and breweries, celebratory venues, and culinary tourism, have previously been addressed on a case by case basis. This singular approach risks creating inadvertent conflicts between individual concerns and precludes a comprehensive approach to agricultural-economic development issues in the county.
The Agritourism Study will examine issues raised by farmers, entrepreneurs, community members, planners and regulators. It will draw and expand on the earlier work of the Montgomery County Heritage Area Management Plan as well as engage consultant assistance to conduct a study of agritourism policies and regulations in Montgomery County and comparable jurisdictions.
The Agritourism Study seeks to identify considerations – including opportunities and challenges- as well as develop a menu of potential solutions to provide a comprehensive and coordinated approach for agricultural-economic development. The study seeks to preserve the character of the Agricultural Reserve while also enhancing the economic viability of farming.