South Dakota Agritourism

Agritourism is an activity carried out on a farm or ranch that allows members of the general public to view or participate in agricultural activities for recreational, entertainment, and/or educational purposes. With visitor interest continuing to demand more authentic, experiential, off-the-beaten-path travel, agritourism was defined as a niche area of development for the South Dakota Department of Tourism in 2017.

Do you wonder if agritourism is right for you? Adding an agritourism enterprise to an existing farm or ranch operation may not be for everyone. Remember, agritourism is part of the hospitality industry. Ask yourself the following questions to see if it seems to be a good fit:

  • Do you enjoy entertaining guests?
  • Can you manage additional business responsibilities associated with an agritourism operation (including marketing, employee management, and customer relations)?
  • Can you create a safe, inviting atmosphere for people visiting your operation?
  • Are you willing to create the ideal experience for your customers?
  • Do you have a passion for sharing agriculture with the public?
     

More about Agritourism in South Dakota

 

AgritourismSD program

In partnership with SDSU Extension, the South Dakota Department of Tourism is eager to kick off the 2021-2023 class of AgritourismSD. Applications were due April 1, 2021, the program began in May 2021 and runs until May 2023.

AgritourismSD is a two-year, intensive program focused on providing the tools and skills needed to develop a successful agritourism enterprise. Over 24 months, there will be eight two-day, in-person workshops providing in-depth information to help build a successful agritourism enterprise.

For further information about the program, check out the Agritourism SD Facebook page or reach out to Jacey Ellsworth at [email protected].
 

Overview of the AgritourismSD program
 

 

South Dakota Agritourism Work Group

The South Dakota Agritourism Work Group was formed in 2017. The Work Group encourages, promotes and supports agritourism in South Dakota. Members of the group consist of several local, state and federal organizations who offer guidance and resources for starting an agritourism enterprise and help to support agritourism development in South Dakota

Members of the South Dakota Agritourism Work Group include:

 

South Dakota Agritourism Liability Work Group

The South Dakota Agritourism Liability Work Group was formed in June 2021. During the Department of Tourism's efforts to build awareness about this niche area of development, there was one concern repeatedly heard from agriculture producers wanting to start or expand an agritourism venture on their farm or ranch: Liability. In order to address this concern, a work group was formed to review South Dakota’s agritourism liability statutes, identify whether or not they were sufficient, and, if not deemed sufficient, draft legislation to strengthen South Dakota’s liability statutes to lessen the liability risk for agritourism operators.

Members of the South Dakota Agritourism Liability Work Group included:

  • Kirk Hulstein, South Dakota Dept. of Tourism
  • Jacey Ellsworth, South Dakota Dept. of Tourism
  • Bailey Carlsen, South Dakota Dept. of Tourism
  • Ann Holzhauser, South Dakota Attorney General's Office
  • Jason Simmons, South Dakota Dept. of Ag and Natural Resources
  • Jon Kotilnek, South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks
  • Bob Weyrich, South Dakota Small Business Development Center
  • Peggy Schlechter, SDSU Extension Community Vitality
  • Julie Smoragiewitz, Yak Ridge Cabins and Farmstead
  • Brenda Forman, Ag Unity
  • Emily Mueller, Big Stone Pumpkin Patch
  • Beth Simonson, Hydeout Bed and Breakfast
  • Representative Sydney Davis, SD Legislator
  • Senator John Wiik, SD Legislator
  • Senator Gary Cammack, SD Legislator
  • Mike Traxinger, Agtegra Cooperative

 

Agritourism Liability Law

Signing of SB135 South Dakota Agritourism Liability Law

On March 2, 2022, Governor Noem signed into law Senate Bill 135 (SB135), an Act to revise provisions regarding agritourism liability. This bill strengthens liability protections for agritourism activity operators in South Dakota. With these protections, farmers and ranchers will preserve South Dakota’s rich history of family-owned and -operated agriculture operations while helping to grow their rural communities. The language in SB135 goes into effect on July 1, 2022.

Questions & Answers
 

How do you know if this legislation applies to your business? We encourage operators to seek their own legal counsel when seeking clarity on how this piece of legislation applies to them, but offer three requirements from the legislation below:

  • Does your operation fall under the definition of an agritourism activity?

    An agritourism activity is any activity carried out on a farm, on a ranch, or in a forest that allows members of the public, for recreation, entertainment, or education purposes, to view or participate in agricultural activities, including farming, ranching, historical, cultural, harvest-your-own, or nature-based activities and attractions. An activity is not an agritourism activity if the participant is paid to participate in the activity.
     

  • Do you post and maintain signage containing the warning stated below in a clearly visible and conspicuous location at or near the entrance to the land used for the agritourism activity?

    WARNING: Under South Dakota law, an owner of property, including lands and waters, who charges individuals an admission price or fee to participate in an agritourism activity on the owner's property, is not liable for injury to or death of a participant in the agritourism activity or damage to the participant’s property of the injury or damage resulted from an inherent risk of the agritourism activity. Inherent risks are conditions, dangers, or hazards that are an integral part of the land used for agritourism activity, including surface and subsurface conditions and natural conditions of the land, vegetation, and waters; the behavior of wild or domestic animals; the ordinary dangers of structures or equipment ordinarily used in farming or ranching operations when such structures or equipment are used for farming or ranching purposes; and the potential for you or another participant to act in a negligent way that may contribute to your injury, death or damages. You are assuming the risk of participating in the agritourism activity for which you are entering on or using the owner’s land.
     

  • Do you include the below warning in a written contract between the owner and any participant who is charged to enter on or use the land for the agritourism activity?

    WARNING: Under South Dakota law, an owner of property, including lands and waters, who charges individuals an admission price or fee to participate in an agritourism activity on the owner's property, is not liable for injury to or death of a participant in the agritourism activity or damage to the participant’s property of the injury or damage resulted from an inherent risk of the agritourism activity. Inherent risks are conditions, dangers, or hazards that are an integral part of the land used for agritourism activity, including surface and subsurface conditions and natural conditions of the land, vegetation, and waters; the behavior of wild or domestic animals; the ordinary dangers of structures or equipment ordinarily used in farming or ranching operations when such structures or equipment are used for farming or ranching purposes; and the potential for you or another participant to act in a negligent way that may contribute to your injury, death or damages. You are assuming the risk of participating in the agritourism activity for which you are entering on or using the owner’s land.

 

 

FOR INFORMATION

Please contact Jacey Ellsworth, Industry Outreach & Development Representative and Agritourism Manager, for more information at 605-773-3301 or [email protected].