Old MacDonald Had a Farm (and a Winery…and a Gift Shop…) – Regulating Agro-Tourism Businesses

Ask 10 different people to define “agro-tourism” and you would likely get 10 different definitions.  But all would likely agree on the importance emerging markets and business models play in sustaining Maryland agriculture. But while bringing benefits, agro-tourism also poses health and environmental regulatory challenges.  Learn about both these benefits and challenges at the 2015 MACo December Winter Conference.  As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Governor’s Intergovernmental Commission on Agriculture has created a model definition of “agri-tourism” that can be used by counties and some additional recommendations to help encourage agri-tourism businesses while maintaining necessary regulatory oversight.


Agro-tourism and related on-farm businesses (such as wineries, creameries, and on-farm markets) play an increasingly important role in the economic vitality of both farms and the counties in which they are located. However, while generally supporting such endeavors, counties must also manage valid public health and environmental concerns that arise from food processing and other activities by on-farm businesses. Panelists will discuss the benefits and challenges surrounding on-farm businesses, highlight key safety and health issues posed by them, and offer examples of how certain counties have responded to these concerns.


  • Kevin Atticks, Founder/CEO, Grow and Fortify and Executive Director, Association of Maryland Wineries
  • Kevin Barnaba, Director of Environmental Health, Harford County
  • Lisa Staley, Chief, Center for Facility and Process Review, Office of Food Protection, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • Joanna Kille, Legislative Liaison and Staff for Governor’s Intergovernmental Commission on Agriculture, Maryland Department of Agriculture

Moderator: The Honorable Thomas McLain “Mac” Middleton, Senate of Maryland (invited)

Date & Time: Thursday, December 10, 2015, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference:

Questions? Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White.