Wexton Relaunches Congressional Agritourism Caucus
Washington, April 1, 2021
Washington, DC -- Today, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) announced the relaunch of the bipartisan Congressional Agritourism Caucus.
Originally started in 2019, the Congressional Agritourism Caucus was created to support the agritourism industry and to highlight its importance to local economies and communities. Congresswoman Wexton will serve as the Democratic co-chair of the Caucus alongside Congressman David Rouzer (R-NC), who will serve as the Republican co-chair.
“I’m excited to relaunch the Congressional Agritourism Caucus for the 117th Congress. I launched the Congressional Agritourism Caucus in 2019 to bring Representatives from across the country together to find ways we can strengthen the agritourism industry in our communities and to highlight the positive impacts they have on our local economies,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “When COVID hit, our agritourism businesses had to adapt, make tough calls and changes, and get creative with how they ran and operated. From vineyards to local apple orchards, breweries, distilleries and farm stands, the agritourism industry faces unique obstacles and it is my mission to ensure we are doing everything in our power to see they are successful.”
“Agriculture is the backbone of North Carolina’s economy, and like so many others, our farm families have faced major challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Congressman David Rouzer. “As our economy continues to recover, I’m proud to relaunch the bipartisan Congressional Agritourism Caucus to highlight the unique opportunities this sector offers our farm families. Agritourism allows farmers to create innovative sources of income and helps both our local citizens and visitors from across the nation learn more about what our farm families have to offer and the critical impact they have on our rural communities and our food supply in North Carolina and the nation.”
Agritourism is a commercial enterprise that attracts travelers and visitors to an area used primarily for agricultural purposes. Agritourism businesses provide a range of unique experiences to their communities, including taking a hayride at a pumpkin patch, picking apples at an orchard, and wine tasting at a vineyard. By opening their doors to the public, these businesses, which are often small or family-owned, provide recreational and educational opportunities for the public while also earning additional income for the owners.
Agritourism is a rapidly growing and successful industry in congressional districts across the country. According to the Census of Agriculture, agritourism-related income nationwide increased from $202 million in 2002 to $949 million in 2017 -- a nearly 370% increase.
Virginia-10 is home to more than 230 agritourism businesses which help drive the local economy and preserve the rural character of communities in the district. Per a 2017 study, the agritourism sector accounts for $2.2 billion in economic activity in Virginia as a whole, and supports more than 22,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the commonwealth.
In addition to Wexton and Rouzer, the current members of the Agritourism Caucus are Representatives Troy Balderson (R-OH), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Elaine Luria (D-VA), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), and Rob Wittman (R-VA).