By maximizing the recreational value of their land, farmers and ranchers could reap an additional $20,000 per year without sowing a single seed, Dr. Daryl Jones of the Natural Resources Enterprises (NRE) Program at Mississippi State University told attendees at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 93rd Annual Meeting.

A recent study in Mississippi showed recreational potential increased land value by $654 per acre, or 52 percent. That’s on top of the agricultural and timber value of the land, and it’s not unique to Mississippi.

Allowing the public onto private land to hunt, fish, bird watch and ride horses can be a boon for the environment too, since farmers and ranchers are providing a home to a thriving wildlife population. Jones also pointed out that the state gets a bump by the landowners’ increased incomes and from all the recreational tourists, including international guests, who are drawn to the region.