Agricultural tourism helps fill void left by tobacco

By ANDREW TANGEL State Journal Staff Writer Published:

City dwellers may think Richard Jones, owner of Happy Jack's Farm, is out of his gourd for building a bridge for goats, but he might just be an agricultural pioneer.

As tobacco farming becomes less profitable thanks to anti-smoking crusaders around the nation - and in some Kentucky cities - enterprising agriculturalists could take a cue from Jones and devise new ways to maintain an income, turning to so-called agritainment to lure tourism dollars.

"It's a big attraction. People love to see it," said Jones, referring to the construction of beams and planks that connects a barnyard to a grassy corral and rises 14 feet above a gravel road leading to fields of sweet corn, Christmas trees and pumpkins.

The goats hoof across the bridge maybe four or five times a day, Jones said, given their inclination to climb, and to munch on the corral's taller, greener grass.

"I was trying to think of something that would be different and unique," he said.

Jones hopes that as word spreads of the bridge, which he built in February 2002, more families will visit his 200-acre farm, located southeast of Frankfort, for one of three weekend festivals this fall - one in late September and two in early October - and to pull pumpkins out of the patch. Pumpkin sales account for about half his revenue, he said.

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