Email List

ABC 15 Streaming LiveLive In The StudioCurrent Road ConditionsPump PatrolRaw NewsSchool Closings


: Sunny
High 66

Low 40

High 70

THURSDAY: Mostly Cloudy
Showers/Storms Likely
Low 54/High 69

FRIDAY: Mostly Cloudy
AM Showers/Storms
Low 48/High 51

SATURDAY: Mostly Sunny
Low 31/High 57

Advertise with us!

WICD Newschannel 15 :: News - On the Farm - Agritourism Business Exploding in Illinois

Agritourism Business Exploding in Illinois

From pumpkin patches to wineries to corn mazes, more and more people are looking for unique experiences, and they're finding them on the farm.

"I think people are looking for that unique experience and what it is about the destination that makes that destination unique," said Gina Gemberling of the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau.

For many who have never been on a farm, they're looking for an agriculture experience.

"We have different tours that come through and that kind of thing. They generally schedule big tours through the chamber of commerce in Jacksonville, so bus tours and that kind of thing," said Prairie Land Heritage Museum show chairman Mike Hall.

Visitors are traveling to the Prairie Land Heritage Museum in Jacksonville from all over the world.

"I see a lot of people that come through on the Route 66 tour. So a lot of them divert to come over here and take a look at early American agriculture because they come from Norway and Denmark and New Zealand and everywhere," Hall said.

But for some visitors, it's not enough to just look at farm equipment. They want to see it in action.

"We're going to be taking them around the farm starting out, explaining to them what corn and soybeans are, take them and show them how the combine, how it works, grain bins, tractors and auger wagons, semis, the whole system of farming," said Logan County farmer David Sasse.

Not only do Gail and David Sasse give tours of their farm, but they run Gail's Pumpkin Patch, attracting more than 10,000 visitors each fall.

"We have over 60 varieties of pumpkins. We have the typical, great-looking orange pumpkin. Then we have whites and blues and Cinderellas, which are a bright brilliant orange," said Gail Appl-Sasse.

For those wanting a true on the farm experience, tourism experts say central Illinois is the perfect destination.

"Because we're located in the middle of some of the richest farm ground in the country, Springfield is an obvious destination for all kinds of agritourism," Gemberling said.

And it's bringing in big money for the state.

"Agriculture is an economic driver for all types of industries, including tourism," Gemberling said.

One of the driving forces behind the state's growing agritourism market is wine.

"It's one of the top ranking in wine production across the nation and we now have over 100 wineries across the state of Illinois, so agritourism is a big business for the state of Illinois when it comes to the wine industry," said Jennifer Tirey of the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
Lindsey Hess, ABC NewsChannel 20

Agritourism Business Exploding in Illinois

Wednesday, April 23 2014, 10:23 AM CDT

Related Stories

On the Farm Stories

Small Equipment Repairs Workshop

Volunteers Needed In Gifford

Nutrient Management Program Comes to Springfield Watershed

Agriculture Legislative Day

Emerald Ash Borer Seminar

Calving Season Starts

Agriculture Workshops This Week

Soy As Food

Gardening Events in March

Grain Bin Rescue Training

Grain Opportunities To Expand Business

Mega Hog Farm Could Be Coming To Menard County

Corn And Soybean Demand Changes

Calling All Green Thumbs

Soil and Water Organization Importance

Beef Expo Comes To Springfield

Program To Retain Farm Workers

Pig Lesson For School Children

Two Gardening Events Coming Up

Community Garden Forum

Fresh Winter Veggies

Small Farm Webinar Series

Champaign County SWCD Annual meeting and Midwest Expo

Winter Wine Festival

Farm-To-Table Changing The Food Industry

January Soybean Report

Farm Service Agency Employees Take Part in Farm Bill Training

How To Handle Bees

Fair Leaders Attend Convention, Improve Their Fairs

Area Residents Concern On Possible Hog Farm

Illinois Crop Record Set

Upcoming Conservation Cropping Seminar

Beck's Could Be Coming To Effingham

Landowner Workshop

Corn and Soybean Classic

Macon Co. Farmer Wins Award

Pollination Increase

Grain Bin Safety

Farmer Crop Webinars

Master Gardeners Training

NRCS Healthy Soils Initiative

Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Wants Feedback

Local Farmers Worry About Farm Income After Drop In Grain Prices This Fall

Soybean Webinar

Cover Crop Soil Information Opportunity

Poinsettias Making Way Back To Nursery Shelves

Central Illinois Foodbank Donation

Conservation Cropping

Harvest Update From The USDA

More Families Eating Local Ham This Christmas

Corn and Soybean Report

Small Land Productivity

Waterways and Cover Crops

Preventing Apples From Turning Brown

Women Farmers

Seeds of Hope

Cover Crop Seminars

Agriculture Events This Week

Upcoming Election For Farmers and Ranchers

Logan County Farmer In The Running To Be The Next Face of Farming And Ranching

Tractor Safety

Leasing Land Program

Farmers Working to Beat the Rain

Tracking Soybean Yields

Illinois Harvest Slowly Coming Along

Farm Machinery Mechanics Repair Equipment Right In The Field

Night With The Danville Dashers

Soggy Weather Causes Concern for Farmers

Bumper Crop Putting State's Transportation System to the Test

Grain Elevators Requesting Extra Storage Space

Turkey Farmers Prepare for Holiday Season

Flavors of Fall: Apples Appearing at Central Illinois Farm Stands

National 4H Week

Need To Know: Cover Crops

Soy Acre Challenge To Help Hunger

Kristin's Pumpkin Patch Opens for Season

Chambersburg Gardener Grows Strawberries Hydroponically

Increase in Illinois Farm Deaths

Rain Gardening Program

Wet Weather Delays Corn Harvest

Calling All Garden Lovers

Harvest Means Farm Equipment on Roadways

Childrens Program on Farm Importance

Apple Harvest Ready For This Season

Farmers Work to Keep Livestock Cool in Summer Heat

Drainage Class

Jacksonville Couple Named Sustainable Agriculture Farmers of theYear

USDA Soybean Report

Ag Golf Tournament

Covered Crops

Agriculture, Main Point To State Fair

Soybean Survey

Preparing Animals For The State Fair

July Soil Temps

New Safety Net Programs Bring Change

Harness Races Draw Spectators at Logan County Fair

Bee Keeping Seminar

Crop Analyzing

Rain Impact On Crop Nitrogen

Pesticide Recycling Program

Dairy Show Kicks off Christian County Fair

Farmers and Ranchers Alliance

Legistators and Corn Crop

Importance Of Bees On Agriculture

Weed Dating Event

Farmer Opportunity

Buy Illinois Challange

Crop Dusting is in Full Swing

Healthy Ponds and Happy Fishermen Event

Soil Results For June

Soybeans and Wheat Update

Shed Sale

Suttill Gardens' Years Of Experience Contribute To Success

June Averages Much Different This Year

Soil Health

Dairy Month Events

Washington Family Continues Rebuilding Farm after November Tornado

Extension System Celebrates 100 Years

Beardstown Students Learn about Ag with Exploration Day

Weeds and Crops

Winter Wheat Harvest

Upcoming Agriculture Events

Cooper's Streatside Bistro

Master Gardeners Event

Soil Moisture For May

Timber Workshop

Local Wine Present at Farmer's Market

Massive Rains, Heavy Winds Impact Crops

Agritourism Workshop

Soil Health Webinar

U of I Gets Grant to Help Farmers Navigate New Farm Bill Programs

64 Percent of Soybean Crop Planted

Illinois Soybean Board Looking for Director Candidates

Strawberry Season is Here

Chatham Coffee Master Educates Mexican Coffee Farmers on Production

Corn and Wheat Crop Reports

Soil Temperatures

Corn Planting Nearly Complete in Illinois

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program

Technology is Revolutionizing the World of Agriculture

Countryside 10k to Benefit Champaign County Farm Bureau

78 Percent of Illinois Corn Crop Planted

U of I Extension Hosting Weather Seminar

Farmland Transition

R&R Hydroponics Featured at Farmers Market

Sherman Grandmother Plays Large Role in Running Family Farm

May is Wetlands Month in Illinois

Central Illinois Farmers Leading State in Corn Planting

Food Safety Techniques Seminar

Corn Farmers Ask for More Trade Opportunities with Cuba

43 Percent of Illinois Corn Crop Planted

Farmers Discuss Transportation Issues in Vermillion County

32 Percent of Corn Crop Planted

New Farm Bill Means New Federal Programs

Master Rosarian Cares for 465 Rose Bushes

Champaign County Stewardship Week

Sustainability on Soybean Farms

Planting Season off to Slow Start

New Research on Farm Pests

Pleasant Plains Farm Welcomes New Lambs

Spring Planting Underway in Central Illinois

Paul Tree Farms Grow Thousands of Trees

Farmers Rushing to Apply Ammonia Between Rains

PrairiErth Farm Prepares to Plant Vegetables

Virden Man Used John Deere Part to Create First Break-Away Basketball Rim

Backyard Chicken Workshop

Women Farmers Invited to Conservation Discussion

Backwoods Berry Farm Prepares for Growing Season

App Helps Farmers Keep Track of Pesticide Application

Beef & Beyond Workshop

Good Ag Practices Workshop

Wine Maker Pruning Vineyard Ahead of Growing Season

Exploraces 2014

Roots for Improvement: Cover Crops

Soil Structure

Agritourism Business Exploding in Illinois

Lincoln Memorial Garden Turns Sap into Syrup

Jacksonville Students Celebrate FFA Week with Petting Zoo

Prairie Land Heritage Museum Turns 45

Tropical Plants Bloom All Year Long at Pleasant Nursery

Students Learn the Art and Science of Horseshoeing

Farmers Learn how to Keep Records in Ag Accounting Class

Winemaking Continues in Winter

Cattle Producers Battle Cold Weather

Farmers Prepare for Spring Planting

Hobby Turned Business for Cherokee Flats Rabbitry

Farm Stores in the Holiday Spirit

Produce Farmers Prepare for Winter

Students Harvest Thousands of Pounds of Turnips

Manito Man Opens Antique Car and Tractor Museum

Number of Women in Agriculture Industry is Increasing

Warrensburg Man Collects Hundreds of Farm Toys

Implement Dealers Busy Repairing Harvest Equipment

Monticello Turkeys are Almost Ready for Thanksgiving

Greenview Man Promoting Poultry

Gail's Pumpkin Patch Ready for Season

Broom Orchard is Ready for Apple Season

Jacksonville Teen in the Running for National Tractor Restoration Competition

Hydroponics Helps Gardeners Battle Drought

Calmer Corn Heads Owner Makes Huge Impact

Farm Progress Show Preview

Honey Show Buzzes Into State Fair

A Bit of Everything at Krone Farms

Day In The Country Coming Up

Detasseling a Hot Job

Carlinville Orchard Ready for Peach Crop

Rosamond Dairy Farmers Hard At Work

Local Flavors Meal Series Returns

Preparing Pigs For Show

Strawberry Season Delayed by Weather

Planting Season Finally Hits

Illinois Products Farmers Market Opens for Season

Reading, Writing, and Agriculture

Farmers Lead the Fight Against Flooding

Produce Farmer Battling Mother Nature

Growing a Greenhouse into a Family Business

Produce Grower Looks Forward to Better Season

2013 Growing Season Outlook

Restoring Antique Tractors for a Living

Turning Tiny Planters Into Big Business

Raising Llamas in Central Illinois

Rescuing Horses from Neglect

Greenhouse Work Starts Early

Making Maple Syrup in Central Illinois

Growing Wine Grapes Means Year-Round Work

Ag Company Takes on Carbon Sequestration

Raising Bison on the Prairie

Are Mild Winters Creating More Insect Problems?

Continuing Evolution of Farm Equipment

Farmers Welcome 2013

Farm Creates Legendary Deer Hunting Destination

3 Generations of Family Farm Equipment for Sale

Students Raise Ag Awareness With a Very Affordable Meal

Raising Reindeer in Central Illinois

Raising a Wide Variety of Natural Food

Raising Vegetables After the Farmers Markets Are Closed

Making Fresh Cider on the Farm

Raising Delicious Pumpkins

New High Tech Hog Facility Opening

Turkey Crop is Nearly Ready

Family Pumpkin Farm Hits The Busy Season

Preparing for the Heritage Steam Show

Taking a Lunchbreak for Safety

Community College Harvests Knowledge

3 Very Different Farms Open Up for Tours

Corn Test Plots Yield Valuable Data

Harvesting Seed Corn Isn't Like Traditional Feed Corn

Advertise with us!

  • WICD :: News - Border Crisis

    Border Crisis

    Get the latest developments on the border control issue!
  • WICD :: News - Traffic


    Get the latest traffic reports from WICD ABC Newschannel 15!
  • WICD :: News - Ask the Expert

    Ask the Expert

    Do you need expert advice? Here's your chance to ask our experts!
  • WICD :: News - Live In The Studio

    Live In The Studio

    Local nonprofits and community leaders tell us about upcoming events in East Central Illinois.
  • WICD :: News - Pay It Forward

    Pay It Forward

    Pay It Forward... because sometimes people need a little extra help.
  • WICD :: News - Your Voice. Your Future.

    Your Voice. Your Future.

    As the country faces challenges from federal budget issues to jobs and national debt, your voice is critical to the future.
  • WICD :: News - Road Trippin

    Road Trippin

    Come Road Trippin' with us! Check out all the great attractions in your area!
  • WICD :: News - In The Kitchen

    In The Kitchen

    Some of the areas best chefs whip up their tastiest creations on Newschannel 15. Click here to see them in action and get their recipes to try at home.
  • WICD :: News - Be The Parent

    Be The Parent

    It's one of the hardest jobs in the world.  So let us help you.  Get parenting tips and see our latest video to help you be the parent.
  • WICD :: News - Cruisin' Illinois

    Cruisin' Illinois

    Get your motor running for the hottest motorcycle show in Central Illinois!
  • WICD :: News - On the Farm

    On the Farm

    Whether it's topical segments on what's happening on local farms to commodity prices, we have the world of central Illinois agriculture covered.
  • WICD :: News - Pet of the Week

    Pet of the Week

    The cutest video you'll see anywhere. Just one click and you won't be able to resist these adorable friends who need someone to love them.
  • WICD :: News - Washington Times

    Washington Times

    Politics, Breaking News, US and World News.
  • WICD :: News - Health Care Reform

    Health Care Reform

    The Supreme Court ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act sparked a new battle. Check here daily for the latest developments, locally and across the country.
  • WICD :: News - Illinois Central

    Illinois Central

    Every week "Illinois Central" brings you the stories about the people in central Illinois. From our weekly "Cruisin' Illinois" segment " which features motorcycle culture " to the arts and everything ...
  • WICD :: News - Pump Patrol

    Pump Patrol

    Check out the NewsChannel 15 Pump Patrol to find the lowest prices, report low prices and get gas-saving tips.
  • WICD :: News - Raw News

    Raw News

    Watch extra news footage, full interviews, and extended stories that didn't make it on air.  "Raw News" may include content that is not suitable for children and is intended for mature ...

  • WICD :: News - Doug's Quick Takes

    Doug's Quick Takes

    Local organizations and community leaders tell you about events happening in the Central Illinois area.
  • WICD :: News - Waste Watch

    Waste Watch

    How are your tax dollars being spent? Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments or any groups are using your money wisely...or wasting it.

Tonight on WICD

5:00pm First News at Five
5:30pm ABC World News with David Muir
6:00pm News at Six
6:30pm Entertainment Tonight
7:00pm Fresh Off the Boat
7:30pm Repeat After Me
8:00pm Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
9:00pm Forever
10:00pm Nightside News

Complete Schedule »

Buzzed Driving Prevention PSA
Phases of the Moon Festival
News Team
Sunrise Team