Strong majority supports agritourism - 512 participants

Dec 01, 2015

Following a controversial case heard last June by the state Supreme Court, two bills have been submitted for the 2016 session that would include “agritourism” in the definition of activities that constitute agriculture and farming in New Hampshire. The change would effectively prohibit zoning ordinances and other local regulations from preventing farms from hosting weddings, festivals, and other similar events.  The Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) decided to put the issue to Facebook members, posing the question, “Do you think the state should protect the right of farms to host agritourism events?”

A total of 78% of respondents answered directly or with a concurrence. Out of these responses, a 98% majority supported protecting the right of farms to host agritourism events, with only 2% opposed. Of the remaining respondents, a notable 19% opted to discuss the subject in broader terms while 3% commented on unrelated issues. In sum, 512 citizens participated in the discussion with a total of 1,240 responses. 

Those in favor of allowing farms to host events argued that such activity was an important and legitimate revenue source. “Being able to diversify small farms is very important,” one citizen wrote. “Keeping farms going is an important part of NH history. We should be doing more to help the farmers keep their farms rather than forcing them into bankruptcy,” one citizen wrote. Others voiced their support for the move in terms of the protection of personal property rights. “Who am I to say a farmer can’t use his land to host a wedding and make ends meet?”

The small minority against the proposed legislation argued that the change would allow farms to enter the event hosting market without being subject to the same rules and regulations as other venues. “I don’t think it’s fair to give one business a huge advantage over other businesses.” Others countered that hosting events should not be placed under the umbrella of agricultural activity. “It is not farming,” a citizen wrote.

A significant number of respondents opted not to give a yes or no response to the question, instead expressing the opinion that the government should not be involved in restricting activity on private property in the first place. “Why does the state (or any other governmental entity) have any say in this at all? Should be entirely up to the land owner,” a citizen wrote. “The government should have no say in what people are doing on their land as long as it is not hurting others,” another added. 

Click here to read the full Facebook discussion of this question. 

Do you think the right of farms to host agritourism events should be protected? Leave a comment and have your say! 

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