- Associated Press - Sunday, October 30, 2016

LODI, Wis. (AP) - A farmer in Lodi said corn mazes in the U.S. have become popular tourist sites and help small farms boost their income to stay afloat.

Angie Treinen, co-owner of Treinen Farm in Lodi, has been designing corn mazes for more than a decade and created a 15-acre maze on her farm, according to the Wisconsin Public Radio (https://bit.ly/2f0tutt).

Treinen spends about 40 hours a year designing the corn maze, making sure it’s recognizable in photos. This year’s design includes “rainbows, kittens and killer baby unicorns.”

Treinen said the corn mazes allow farmers who are typically tied to the commodities market to be a little more in control of their business.

“You don’t have that much control over your income because you are paid what the market will pay you,” she said. “When you have a business that is basically a tourist business, you can attract more people by giving them a great experience. Its growth is way more under your control.”

She said not all farmers are eager to embrace agritourism because it requires being a people person and thinking about the niche market.

“Having thousands of people come into potentially what you feel is your personal space, (farmers) also have to think like a customer,” she said. “They won’t know about farm hazards, like manure.”

The biggest piece of advice Treinen gave for tourists to have fun is to go in a group, because it helps prevent people from getting lost.

“Go on a very busy day because there are tons of people in there, and people love to help each other out,” Treinen said.

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Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, https://www.wpr.org

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