In the spring of 2003, the Tennessee Departments of Agriculture, Tourist Development, and Economic and Community Development, University of Tennessee Extension and the Tennessee Farm Bureau federation joined together to establish the Tennessee Agritourism Initiative. The majority of the initiative was funded by a federal grant from USDA Rural Development. The initiative was led by a steering committee of representatives from each of the initiative partners.
The initiative was developed with three major objectives to be implemented in two phases:
- Build farm income through agritourism
- Expand tourism income within rural communities
- Establish a sustainable, long-term program
Through this initiative the Tennessee Agritourism Association was born. The members of this association have voluntarily associated themselves together in an organization to carry out the following purposes:
- Provide informational, networking, educational, and other activities that support agritourism operations
- Promote the growth of agritourism throughout the State of Tennessee.