Agritourism Newsletter January 2015

Dora Ann Hatch  |  1/9/2015 1:51:30 AM

Agritourism

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.

In this Edition

Topics covered in this newsletter include: information on how you can prepare for the summer produce season by registering your business online and attending educational programs designed to aid in the growth of your business. Also included are opportunities to participate in three programs: “Annie’s Project,” “The Good Agricultural Practices & Good Handling Practices Workshops” and “Waders in Working Wetlands: Shorebird Extravaganza.”

Preparing for Summer Gardens

Although it’s cold outside, it’s time to begin making plans for your summer gardens. The LSU AgCenter’s Vegetable Planting Guide provides recommendations on varieties suitable for planting in Louisiana and also provides suggested planting dates and seed depths.

Roadside Stands, Farmers Markets and Community Supported Agriculture

For those of us who like to garden and make money, we can pursue many different avenues. Any of the three of these: roadside stands, farmers markets or community supported agriculture can put money in your pocket. Check with your parish government to see if there are any regulations for a roadside stand. Join a farmers market group now so you can participate this summer. If you plan to sell directly from your farm, decide whether you will participate by selling community supported agriculture shares or if you will just sell out of the fields.

If you plan to sell directly from the farm, consider filing for coverage under the Agritourism Limited Liability Law passed in 2008. Click here to learn how.

Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program

Contact the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry to see if Louisiana is participating in the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. In the past, this program has provided a book of six $4 coupons ($24) to senior citizens so seniors can purchase fresh produce from the farmers markets, roadside stands or off the farm. It is the responsibility of the farmer to enroll in the program to be eligible to receive coupons.

Register Your Farmers Market Online

Today, so many shoppers don’t have local television stations and don’t get the local newspaper, so having an online presence for your farmers market is important. Start by registering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Their directory includes market locations, operating times, product offerings and accepted forms of payment. Registration is voluntary, and you must enter your own data. But the process is easy. If you are already in the directory, you should have received an email asking for you to update your entry. If not, just log on to http://www.usdadirectoryupdate.com, and in less than five minutes, you’re done.

In Louisiana, contact the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry they too maintain an online directory. Contact Michelle Estay at (985) 345-9483 to learn more.

In addition to government sites, you should register on MarketMaker. Registration is free, and there is a special category just for farmers markets. The other interesting fact about MarketMaker is that it connects you to growers as well. So, if your market needs a certain variety of produce, you can use the online surfing tool to locate a producer and invite him or her to your market. If you are traveling away from home and want fresh produce within or outside Louisiana, you may also use MarketMaker for that purpose.

Louisiana Direct Seafood

The Louisiana Direct Seafood website offers an opportunity to find and buy fresh, wild-caught seafood directly off the boat. Created in partnership with LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant, website postings allow the visitor to see the “fresh catch” of the day and arrange for purchase. This website also provides information about port locations. Click here for more information.

Annie's Project Coming to Lafayette in February

Annie’s Project, an educational program dedicated to strengthening women's roles in the modern farm enterprise in Louisiana, is planned for February 24-25, 2015, in Lafayette. The location is Hilton Garden Inn, 2350 W. Congress Street, Lafayette.

The workshop sessions will address the following topics: risk assessments, human factors in farming, grain marketing, insurance for family and farm business, crop insurance, farm programs, farm transition planning, financial statement, farm tax issues and accounting, legal issues, retirement planning and business planning. As part of the business planning session, we will discuss agritourism.

The cost to attend is $75, and registration ends on February 21, 2015. To register, contact: Deborah Cross-Young- State Coordinator for Annie’s, at dcross@agcenter.lsu.edu or (225) 281-9470, or Angie Fogleman, president, Acadiana RC&D, at angie@acadianarcd.com or (318) 240-0107.

Good Agricultural Practices & Good Handling Practices Workshops Planned in February Across the State

Fresh produce food safety has emerged as a critical agricultural issue and often presents a significant financial threat to specialty crop producers. The adoption of on-farm food safety practices will assist producers in managing risk and regulatory changes. The LSU AgCenter is proud to co-sponsor a series of free Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Good Handling Practices (GHPs) workshops to assist growers with implementing and adopting GAPs.

February 10  Red River Research Station, 262 Research Station Drive, Bossier City

February 11  Rapides Parish Extension Office, 300 Grady Britt Drive, Alexandria

February 12 Macon Ridge Research Station, 212A Macon Ridge Road, Winnsboro

February 13 Hammond Research Station, 21549 Old Covington Highway, Hammond

Workshops are FREE. To register, contact Robert Williams at rwilliams@agcenter.lsu.edu or (225)578-2417. Each workshop will be held from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Choose a location nearest you.

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