AgritourismSD kicks off second session

Ag producers from around South Dakota are learning how to add tourism options to their operations thanks to the AgritourismSD program.

April Hamilton poses with her goat on her family farm in Hitchcock, South Dakota.
Ariana Schumacher/Agweek

HITCHCOCK, S.D. — AgritourismSD is welcoming their second class of participants, who are eager and excited to bring the public to their farms.

The Hamilton family recently purchased Prairie Bridge Lodge, adjacent to their farm in Hitchcock, South Dakota, and are looking at turning it into a place open to the public.

“We look forward to be able to host people here, get them close to nature and close to agriculture and just make it be a comfortable, relaxing time, but also something they can learn more about while they are here,” said April Hamilton.

Prairie Bridge Lodge, Hitchcock, South Dakota.
Ariana Schumacher /Agweek

They are kickstarting this new business venture by taking the AgritourismSD course.

“I am looking forward to diving deeper like learning how to make a business, as well as like what can we use that will best align with what we can do because we have our family operation, our family farm that we are doing full time. So being able to balance two different things at the same time,” Hamilton said.


The course is an 18-month commitment.

Stacy Hadrick

“We take them through a pretty intensive look of not only building their business and what they need for identifying their audience and what they want to offer, to just also exploring what other agritourism businesses are doing so they can get other ideas or enhance what they are currently doing,” said Stacy Hadrick , agritourism coordinator.

The program sees a wide variety of operations participating.

“Originally, we thought our network was more traditional farm and ranches, but we’ve seen this amazing variety that has been really cool to explore in our state of South Dakota and enhance,” Hadrick said. “Everything from you-pick-it flowers and vegetables, to more traditional things that we would think about inviting people out to ranches or bison experiences, things like that, so it’s been this really cool gamut that we saw in class one and that we are continuing to see in class two.”

Piglets are some of the many animals visitors can see on the Hamilton farm.
Ariana Schumacher / Agweek

Agriculture and tourism are the two largest industries in South Dakota, making agritourism a perfect fit for the state.

“We are one of the last states that really doesn’t have a formulated agritourism program and we know that people are asking for it, one of our great partners is Travel South Dakota, I mean they have been huge in helping us enhance this program and being a part of it every step of the way,” Hadrick said. “They were getting calls, people want to have these authentic experiences in South Dakota with farming and ranching families, so they knew that need was there, and we were hearing too on the other end from farmers and ranchers saying ‘we are kind of interested in this, but we don’t even know where to start.’”

“They want to get out, they want to experience, instead of just reading about it in textbooks and hearing about it in movies,” Hamilton said. “I think it’s very much the time to do agritourism because we are constantly adapting to what do people need to learn, what are they craving to learn. And this is a beautiful way how we can incorporate agriculture, tourism and just like the natural beauty that God provided right here in South Dakota.”

Hamilton is hoping to provide a unique on-the-farm experience for her guests.


“As more people are being removed from the farm, they are struggling, where is their food coming from or what does corn look like in the field. So being able to bring them back to that first experience that I had, we want to be able to provide that to others who maybe don’t have that opportunity,” Hamilton said.

The Hamilton’s are also considering adding things like scavenger hunts, farm tours and meat bundles to their lodge experience. If you are interested in booking a stay, you can find out more information by emailing

Ariana is a reporter for Agweek based out of South Dakota. She graduated from South Dakota State University in 2022 with a double major in Agricultural Communications and Journalism, with a minor in Animal Science. She is currently a graduate student at SDSU, working towards her Masters of Mass Communications degree. She enjoys reporting on all things agriculture and sharing the stories that matter to both the producers and the consumers.

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