Written by Lori Coats, Oklahoma Agritourism
Oklahoma City, OK
Member Since 2006
Oklahoma – The name is derived from Choctaw Indian words meaning, Red People. The land of this great state is comprised of rich Native American history and ten distinct ecological regions which is more, per square mile, than any other state. Oklahoma is an agricultural based state where the wind comes sweeping down the plains and the waving wheat can sure smell sweet — where farmers and ranchers compete with Mother Nature to succeed. From the wetlands, to the sand dunes, to the high mesa, many of the men and women who daily live out their dreams on these Oklahoma ranches have graciously opened their doors to guests who want to experience their lifestyle. Nothing is more dreamed about or romanticized about than the Old West complete with rank and rowdy cowboys, wild Indians and tough cowgirls who are still pretty. Oklahoma is a place where visitors can still experience a real working ranch or take a lighter approach by relaxing at a fun dude ranch.
After visiting with working ranch owners about what their guests hope to experience, most will concur that authenticity is the key. Guests want to experience what it is like to actually live and work on a ranch and be a cowboy or cowgirl. It’s really not about setting up staged events and putting on a show, but rather about inviting them to be a part of their daily lives — to actually be one of them. Short term, domestic guests usually want to experience traditional activities such as trail riding, roping and chuck wagon dinners. But according to Oklahoma guest ranch providers, if guests are going to stay for an extended period of time, or if they are international guests, they also want to shadow whatever that family is doing. They want to go shopping with them, go to the Post Office, drink coffee at the local hot spot, go to church with the family, ride in a pickup truck, work cattle, build fence and stargaze. They want to talk, ask questions, look at family photo albums and spend time hearing about what life is like living on a ranch. For the owner of the guest ranch it’s about striking a balance between work and fun, and for the guest it’s about learning and living.
It’s what Agritourism is all about in rural Oklahoma! Allowing tourists to share in agricultural based experiences and participate in farm activities. Many providers here in Oklahoma have learned that it’s not so much about creating big package deals, but rather about just being real and allowing others to share in that. The experience itself is what they are selling, and it is popular!
For many years, Oklahoma has also promoted their Old West experience with international travelers. When talking with these folks, most report that they want to experience the east and west coasts during their first and second trips to the U.S. After seeing famous American landmarks and enjoying the fabricated fun of the United States popular culture, they begin to move inland and visit the heartland. During return visits, they begin to seek out historical and authentic America, and nothing is more iconic than the Old West. Oklahoma is a natural, must-visit-next kind of place for many international travelers.
I have learned that Agritourism means many things to many people in NAFDMA – culturally, geographically, and economically. Why not come experience what others have already experienced here in the Old West? Whether it’s a guest ranch here, a guest farm there, or a guest orchard somewhere else, we believe that this model can be applied in rural areas anywhere on this great continent. You can find an Oklahoma Guest Ranch at oklahomaagritourism.com.
|We offer a comprehensive listing of Associations and Groups. Find the local or regional organization in your area for even more resources to advance your agritourism business. For the most advanced and innovative resources, join NAFDMA-Farmers Inspired.|