Loudoun County’s quiet revenue giant: Agritourism

WASHINGTON — Loudoun County accounts for more than half of Northern Virginia’s agritourism dollars, and it’s not just all the vineyards and wineries.

A report released Thursday said Virginia agritourism is a $2.2 billion industry, and Northern Virginia generates the most agritourism revenue of all 10 state regions, contributing more than $522 million.

Loudoun County farm businesses make up 51 percent of Northern Virginia’s agritourism venues, according to the report.

The study was conducted by Virginia Tech, in consultation with the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Loudoun County has almost 1,400 farms, and about 13 percent of them participate in the agritourism sector, the report found.

Agritourism is defined as any activity carried out on a farm or ranch that allows members of the general public to view or enjoy rural activities, including farming, wineries, ranching, historical, cultural, harvest-your-own activities, or natural activities and attractions.

“In addition to our craft beverage producers, businesses like orchards, Christmas tree farms, livestock farms and equestrian venues attract customers to Loudoun from around the D.C. metro region and beyond,” said Buddy Rizer, executive director for economic development in Loudoun County.

The report comes ahead of this year’s Loudoun Spring Farm Tour, featuring 50 venues, May 20-21.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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