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The Louisiana Agritourism Connection September 2012


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 getaway 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.

Topics covered in this edition include: highlights from the Southeast Agritourism Region Committee meeting, farm safety resources, insurance tips, announcement of two workshops on equine and paddling, and a snapshot of The Rock Ranch in The Rock, Georgia.

In July, I had the opportunity to travel to Thomaston, Ga., to represent Louisiana at the Southeast Agritourism Regional Committee meeting. Representatives from North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Florida and Louisiana were in attendance. Participants included extension agents, tourism officials, state agricultural departments, agritourism associations and a few owners of agritourism operations.

Below are the highlights from the meeting:

– Agritourism is not a fad; it’s been in existence for 35 years and is going strong.

“Agritourism is expanding and re-packaging other forms of tourism originally not promoted as agritourism. Agritourism now encompasses ecotourism, nature-based tourism and gem finding,” according to Charlie Touchette of the Association for Farm Direct Marketing and Agritourism.

States involved in agritourism the longest work as a team with their state departments of tourism, agriculture and highways and cooperative extension service agents.

– The tourism department in most states provides websites and printed marketing materials for tourists. Some state tourism departments assign a person to promote agritourism.

– State agritourism associations are very helpful in states where they exist; they lobby the legislature, work with insurance underwriters and mentor to agritourism operators.

– Most states have familiarization (fam) tours for travel writers to see agritourism operations. These are generally hosted by their tourism office. Cooperative Extension Service agents connect the tourism office with the operator.

– Insurance was discussed at great length. Someone said it best – the insurance agent is your business partner and you need to know him and invite him regularly to your farm so both of you have confidence in each other.

– Most states have agritourism websites hosted by their tourism offices.

– Zoning issues have surfaced in some states where the land is more valuable for housing than agritourism operations.

From the meeting, I concluded that Louisiana is definitely on the right track by suggesting that agritourism operators become certified through the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. This certification process is important to insure safe, well-run operations. Louisiana’s certification process suggests that agritourism operators assess their farms for safety and demonstrate how they will mitigate any unsafe practices. To learn more, log on to: The 2008 agritourism limited liability law is voluntary and requires a completion of a plan of operation before certification is granted.

Click here for the PDF version of the Creating Safe Play Areas on Farms brochure.
Click the image above for the PDF version of the Creating Safe Play Areas on Farms brochure.
The fall season is very busy for agritourism operators in our state. As an operator you owe a duty of care to the people who visit your farm. To learn more about how you can minimize risk on your agricultural enterprise, read the best management practices brochure on our website.

The National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety has compiled an excellent resource, “Creating Safe Play Areas on the Farm.” This guide created by the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Marshfield, Wis., describes safe play activities generally termed “agri-tainment” and shows how to incorporate them into your operation.

For more information, contact the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety by calling 800-662-6900, emailing or logging on to their website:  

You and your insurance agent have the same goal: a safe agritourism operation with no accidents and no insurance claims. Think of your agent as your business partner. Begin by establishing a relationship with your agent. Regularly invite your agent to your farm. Show the agent your agritourism operation and share how you use certain safety measures to prevent accidents. Invite the agent to have input into your operation. And when you add something new, invite them out for a first look. It’s important that you and your agent are both comfortable with the safety of your operation.

two girls
Efforts by the LSU AgCenter in northeast Louisiana to explore nature-based tourism have led to opportunities for paddling across our state. To grow enthusiasm for the sport, Friends of Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Louisiana State Parks are joining the LSU AgCenter in providing paddling classes.

Six paddling workshops are planned for September and October. John Williams, owner of Pack & Paddle in Lafayette, will teach classes in Monroe and Delhi on three separate days. The morning classes begin at 10 a.m. and afternoon classes begin at 2 p.m. Although the classes are free, preregistration is required. Participants must be 18 years of age or older. All equipment will be provided. Classes are scheduled as follows:

Kayak Classes

September 29, 2012
Poverty Point Reservoir State Park
1500 Poverty Point Parkway, Delhi, LA 71232
318-878-7536 or 800-474-0392

October 5, 2012
Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge
480 Richland Place
Monroe, LA
Ann Bloxom Smith

Canoe Classes

October 6, 2012
Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge
480 Richland Place
Monroe, LA
Ann Bloxom Smith

The LSU AgCenter will host a Recreational Riding Business Opportunities Workshop on Friday, January 18, 2013, from 8 a.m. until noon at the Ike Hamilton Expo Center, 501 Mane Street, West Monroe. Directions via MapQuest

The workshop will focus on the revenue potential of recreational riding, managing liability, developing trail rides and marketing your venture. A legal expert will discuss the equine law, liability issues and insurance.

The workshop is $10 payable at the door.

For a more information, contact Dora Ann Hatch, LSU AgCenter agritourism coordinator, at (318) 927-9654 Ext. 229 or email her.

I just returned from visiting The Rock Ranch located in The Rock, Georgia. The Rock Ranch is owned by Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy and is dedicated to “Growing Healthy Families”! This 1,250-acre cattle ranch is an outdoor classroom, teaching science, farm life, history and the environment and its complex ecostystems.

The ranch is open for field trips and weekend fun for families, including viewing the farm and also taking advantage of agri-entertainment activities: train rides, zip lines, jumping pillows, cane fishing, paddle boats and horse rides.

It’s located just one hour south of Atlanta. Check out their website for the best times to visit.

To learn more about agritourism in Louisiana, contact Dora Ann Hatch, LSU AgCenter agritourism coordinator, at (318) 927-9654 Ext. 229 or email her.

Last Updated: 8/24/2015 8:14:58 AM

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