While non-traditional farm income may not be a concept embraced by many farm operators in Texas, the fall season each year marks the return of a growing number of holiday-related special events at a number of Texas farms and ranches. Programs are designed to draw crowds from urban areas and capitalize on an ongoing interest in family weekend getaways to the countryside.

From corn mazes to hay rides to Christmas tree farms, record numbers of families and even school classes are traveling down rural roads to participate in what has been termed innovative specialty events designed to generate non-traditional income by more than just a few enterprising farm and ranch operators.

“While the concept may not be a new one, for some successful operations, it is proving to be a greater success than expected,” explained South Texas farmer Lynn McCutchen.

She should know. For a number of years she operated a successful Corn Maze program at her family farm in the Rio Grande Valley. For the price of a single ticket, visitors could walk through a comprehensive corn maze, take a mechanized hay ride, visit an onsite petting zoo, walk through a pumpkin patch, treat the kids to special rides and attractions, and make fresh farm product purchases at the onsite general store.

It has been called agri-tainment by some, a seasonal attraction that offers kids from nearby cities an opportunity to visit the farm or ranch and discover more about farming and life in rural America.