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Agritourism may offer an avenue into finding a small farming niche within Greene County for both experienced farmers and those who are considering a start-up, but history shows the industry to be volatile with a marked decline between the two most recent agricultural census reports.

Tourism is the second largest economic driver in Tennessee, with Northeast Tennessee generating more than $911 million in direct tourist spending and more than $194 million in payroll while employing nearly 7,000 people and generating more than $27 million in local sales tax receipts annually, according to Alicia Phelps, executive director of the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Biennial Report for 2020 shows a total of 37,668 licensed agricultural operations in Tennessee. The most recent tally by county available, the 2017 U.S. Census of Agriculture Data by Tennessee County for Farms Selling Agricultural Products Directly to Consumers for Human Consumption, shows Greene county had 96 such farming operations that garnered $267,000 in sales.

Of the 96, six were listed as offering agritourism or recreational services, garnering $5,000 in sales. In comparison, the 2012 figures from the same census showed 10 farms offering agritourism and recreational services with $121,000 in sales.