Land-use webinar to focus on agritourism issues for Pennsylvania communities

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- "Agritourism Issues for Pennsylvania Communities" will be the topic of a Web-based land-use seminar offered by Penn State Extension.

Presenting the 75-minute webinar at noon May 20 will be Dean Severson, principal agricultural and rural planning analyst for the Lancaster County Planning Commission, and Ross Pifer, director of the Penn State Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center.

A popular and growing opportunity for agricultural producers, agritourism is comprised of activities that can include visiting a working farm or any agricultural, horticultural or agribusiness operation to enjoy, learn about or participate in what is happening at that locale.

Agricultural producers today often engage in agritourism activities as a means of supplementing or supporting their overall agricultural operations, according to Severson. These agritourism activities pose a number of legal issues for agricultural producers and for the municipalities in which they are located.

"Planners must acknowledge agriculture as both a land use and a business, and understand the challenges this mixed use creates for communities," he said. "Lancaster County agritourism guidelines address specific agritourism events, including hayrides, wedding/event barns and corn mazes that are being proposed by the agricultural community."

The webinar will address the application of Pennsylvania agricultural statutes to agritourism activities and the extent to which these statutes affect the ability of municipalities to regulate or zone agritourism activities, noted Pifer.

"Specifically, the webinar will examine the Pennsylvania Right to Farm Act, Clean and Green, general zoning principles and the Pennsylvania Attorney General Office's enforcement of ACRE (Agriculture, Communities and Rural Environment Act)," he added.

This webinar is part of the current winter/spring monthly land-use series. A summer/fall series will begin in July and end in November.

All of these programs are recorded and available for viewing.

The cost of the webinar series is $30 for all five webinars and $60 for those who want to receive certification maintenance credits from the American Planning Association.

For more information, contact Peter Wulfhorst at 570-296-3400 or by email at ptw3@psu.edu. To register for the webinars, visit the website.

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Last Updated June 26, 2015