New Law Cuts Regulation for Agritourism in Valley

HARRISONBURG (WHSV) -- Good weather often leads to good crops, and good crops lead to agritourism. A law taking effect July 1 could boost valley agritourism.

"It's great! We're always looking for that. Over the last year, a lot of times, farmers have a hard time with regulations. A lot of the times the odds are stacked against us. It's nice to know they're not going to be anymore," said Patrick Ryan, a valley farmer.

The new law limits local governments' ability to regulate activities and sales from local farms.

"We haven't had a lot of special events on our farm, but we plan on doing it in the future," said Ryan.

The new law, which is now in effect, makes it easier for farmers like him to hold those events, and cuts through some red tape to make it easier for us to get our hands on fresh produce.

"There's a lot of liability issues that go with that, though," said Jim Randall. He's a farmer too.

Despite the liability, families in the Valley said they're excited to share this business with their kids.

"It's just to give them the opportunity to see what farmers do with their produce and the things they make it It's great time to spend together," shared parent, Christine Toulson.

Toulson enjoyed some local produce sold at the Harrisonburg farm market. Families like hers keep this commerce going after hundreds of years in some cases.

"It's a family farm. My family has been doing it since the 1780s. I'm eighth generation," said Ryan.

With less regulation, he says he hopes this business can continue for generations to come.

According to the law, local governments cannot regulate agritourism events on farmers' land unless there's a substantial impact on the public's health, safety and welfare. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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