Today, U.S. Representatives Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) introduced the bipartisan Accelerating the Growth of Rural Innovation and Tourism Opportunities to Uphold Rural Industries and Sustainable Marketplaces (AGRITOURISM) Act. The bill would create an Office of Agritourism at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to serve as a dedicated voice for agritourism businesses in the federal government and to consolidate information on federal resources available to agritourism business owners. Wexton founded the bipartisan Congressional Agritourism Caucus in 2019.
"Agritourism has unlocked new economic potential for small, family-owned farms in rural areas across Virginia and throughout the country -- yet I've heard from too many business owners in our region that it is difficult to access or to even find out about federal resources available to help cultivate these businesses," said Rep. Jennifer Wexton. "A dedicated Office of Agritourism would help these small farms get the support they need to start and sustain their agritourism businesses, like loans and grants, access to broadband connectivity programs, promotion of agritourism activities, and best practices. As founder of the bipartisan Congressional Agritourism Caucus, I'm proud to be a voice for these businesses in Washington, who are crucial drivers of rural economies here in our district."
"From our world-class wineries and breweries to local orchards, dairies, and farmers markets, agritourism is a vital part of Central Washington's economy. I am proud to introduce the Agritourism Act to ensure that agritourism businesses have an advocate within USDA which will in turn help preserve our important agriculture traditions and honor our way of life," said Rep. Dan Newhouse.