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The Louisiana Agritourism Connection July 2010


boy picking pear
Look what I picked!

Agritourism, a business venture on a working farm, ranch or agricultural enterprise, is growing in popularity throughout the United States. Agritourism blends entertainment, education and tourism together to provide a fun, exciting and memorable get-away for school trips and family outings. This website provides educational resources to assist new and existing entrepreneurs in developing, expanding and improving their agritourism ventures.

Start plowing; it’s time to plant pumpkins. Planting now will ensure a crop by early October just in time to sell directly to retail stores and agritourism operators for their fall happenings.

Farmers in Louisiana should allow 70-99 days from planting to harvest. For more information, contact your local office to speak to a county agent.


U.S. pumpkin sales have been on the rise for the last two decades. The pumpkin has become a popular commodity at urban pumpkin patches and fall festivals and for ornamental use in homes and businesses to decorate for Halloween.

Although Louisiana is not among the top-producing pumpkin states, there is definitely a market for pumpkins in our state. The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center reported that in 2008, 43,400 acres of pumpkins yielded $140.7 million in sales.

Farmers markets and roadside stands that continue into the fall generally have large displays of pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. While the traditional orange pumpkin is still the most popular, other pumpkins with white, green or bumpy shells are gaining in popularity.

People who purchase pumpkins are also likely to purchase carving sets or buy stickers for pumpkins. These pumpkin accessories are a great way to increase your income.

List your pumpkin patch, corn maze, hayride or anything associated with Halloween on the Pumpkin Patches and More website.

MarketMaker is a new marketing tool that the LSU AgCenter is launching in 2010. The site is not functional yet, but in August your local LSU AgCenter office will begin compiling a list of people who have agricultural commodities to sell. This list will be maintained online, and people can contact sellers directly. We will provide you with more information as it becomes available. Check our blogsite for updates.

Use Facebook to let people know about the opportunities for fall fun. Set up a fan page or use your own personal page to publicize. Take pictures and share with your friends to promote your activities.

boy in pumpkin wagon
Provide wagons at your market.

Farmers markets are a great place to sell ornamental corn, corn stalks, gourds and pumpkins. If you don’t have access to a market, start your own roadside stand.

Other suggestions for your farmers market, pumpkin patch or roadside stand:

  • Sell pumpkin-decorating kits.
  • Host a pumpkin-carving class.
  • Host a pumpkin-decorating contest.
  • Paint Halloween faces on children while parents shop.
  •  Create a scene for families to make their own self photos.
  •  Partner with a local photographer to use your market or stand for pictures.
  •  Host a Halloween costume contest.
  • Set up a photo gallery of pumpkins that people have purchased and then decorated.
  • Create an online gallery.

I have just recently learned that agritourism operators who use animals as part of their agritourism venture are subject to the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act regulations. You may go online to learn more.

If your agritourism venture charges people to see animals, pet them or feed them you need a license as an exhibitor. If you do not have a license from USDA and are engaging in this practice, you could be subject to a $10,000 fine.

To safeguard your operation, you should immediately call Mike Long at 970-494-7471 to learn how to become certified. If no answer, call the main number 970-494-7478 and ask to speak with someone concerning USDA certification under the Animal Welfare Act.

The process requires completion of an application and an inspection. During the inspection, officials will check on husbandry issues, veterinary care program and where animals live and review how animal food is stored.

Please call Long immediately if you are not licensed so you can begin pre-certification so that you can continue your operation without concerns over fines.

If you need further assistance, please contact me, Dora Ann Hatch, at 318-927-9654, extension 229.

Last Updated: 7/27/2015 8:25:15 AM

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