Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Chair/Advisor

William C. Norman

Committee Member

Kenneth F. Backman

Committee Member

Lauren N. Duffy

Committee Member

Kenneth L. Robinson

Committee Member

Nathan B. Smith


Economic and non-economic trends have left farm operators of all ages contemplating enterprise diversification strategies to create advantages and to ensure their farms' sustainability for future generations. One such strategy is agritourism, in which a visitor to a working farm or other agricultural setting interacts with the farm landscape or participates in an agricultural process for tourism or leisure purposes. This study aims to contribute to academics, researchers, extension educators, practitioners, and farm service providers who offer training and resources to better equip current and future agritourism operators. The study tested the general hypothesis that agritourism operators' entrepreneurial goals and work characteristics differ by age cohort in the United States. It addresses a gap in the literature by using the Generational Cohort Theory (GCT) to compare four generations of agritourism operators (i.e., Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation). The study was conducted through an online survey. The target population was agritourism operators in the United States born between 1928 and 1996. The findings revealed a divide between older and younger generations of agritourism operators regarding values and preferences specific to the workplace. Model testing shows that those differences are found among agritourism operators’ entrepreneurial goals. The findings further confirm the validity of applying GCT to investigate the tourism and agriculture academies and indicate the need for information specific to developing training and resources for agritourism operators as changing generational values and preferences demand a more skilled and accomplished workforce.



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