A growing number of farmers are developing agritourism enterprises to increase farm income, diversify their businesses and increase their customer bases. Additional benefits can include building positive community relations and raising educational awareness of agriculture. A corn maze is a popular component of many agritourism enterprises; either as a stand-alone activity or in combination with other on-farm attractions (e.g., hay rides, petting zoos, and picnic areas). A corn maze can also be an effective tool to attract customers to retail farm markets.
Corn mazes vary in complexity, size, and purpose. The development of a corn maze, like any farm business venture, requires proper planning. Important questions to consider include: How many visitors can my farm accommodate? Is my parking adequate? How will I ensure the safety of farm visitors? Do I need to hire additional employees to staff a maze? Are there regulatory requirements that I need to address? How will I market my maze? Naturally, the development of a new corn maze raises financial questions, including: How much will it cost to develop a corn maze and how many visitors do I need to make my maze profitable?
Careful budgeting for the establishment and operation of a corn maze is an important component in determining its economic feasibility and managing farm financial risk. This budget calculator summarizes common expenses associated with designing, establishing, and operating a corn maze. An accompanying fact sheet provides a sample budget for a hypothetical five-acre corn maze. It is important to note, however, that there is no "typical" corn maze. Costs will differ from farm to farm. To maximize the effectiveness of this planning tool, producers should carefully develop their own budget assumptions.