question about industry combinations

Agriculture is one of the largest and oldest industries in the world. In the U.S. and many other countries, farmers often struggle to turn a profit given the variances of weather and commodity prices. Some working farms are turning to tourism as an additional and complementary revenue source. A study from the U.S. Census of Agriculture in 2007 found nearly 25,000 farms providing some level of agri-tourism and recreation services. There were 2.2 million farms in the census, almost triple the number from 2002. In 2010, the Department of Agriculture announced a new grant program aimed at providing public access to private farms for such purposes. Small farms worldwide are participating in this trend by offering “pick your own” crops in season, as well as small bed-and-breakfast experiences.

Perhaps one of the most successful large companies leading this marriage of industries is a dairy farm in Indiana: Fair Oaks Farms. Fair Oaks Farms is home to 30,000 cows and produces enough milk to feed 8 million people. Fair Oaks is also participating in the education market as a popular destination for school field trips. Other attractions include the “Birthing Barn,” where calf births can be viewed live; the Cheese Factory; and Mooville—a themed outdoor play area. Fair Oaks Farms hosts some 500,000 tourists each year, who come to see the hands-on adventure center and the working milking operations. A video of the operation is available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dz_gE4887. Such ingenious business diversification can offer many benefits to the agriculture industry.

3-1) What other industrial or commercial industries could benefit from such potential tourist or recreational revenues? Discuss what new and complementary capabilities would need to be developed in order to succeed.

3-2) In your group, list other industry combinations you have seen be successful. Consider why you think the combination has been a success.

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