The Louisiana Agritourism Connection January 2012

Dora Ann Hatch  |  1/17/2012 11:20:57 PM

What is Agritourism?

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 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.

Participate in Agritourism Survey by Jan. 27

Every four years, the LSU AgCenter evaluates its base programs, and this year agritourism will be evaluated for the first time. The survey will be emailed to anyone who has contacted our office for assistance or to anyone who has attended any of our workshops in the past. If you fit that description, we hope you will answer the survey questions, which should take only 10 minutes. Click here for the electronic survey or go to either of these websites: www.lsuagcenter.com/agritourism or www.louisianaagritourism.blogspot.com.

Food Trends That Could Impact the Way We Do Business

Organic foods have found their niche with American families, according to the Organic Trade Association, which reported that 78 percent of U.S. families purchase organic foods, and most are repeat customers. With new consumers joining an already loyal following for organics, it’s predicted that in 2012 the demand for organics could be $30 billion. For more information on organic gardening, visit the eXtension website. This website has links to webinars and printed materials from experts around the United States.

Farmers markets will continue to be a popular way to access fresh produce in the coming year. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported a 17 percent increase from 2010 to 2011 in the number of farmers markets offering home-grown produce. Overall they reported 7,173 farmers markets nationwide. This means opportunity for agritourism operators.

Nature-based tourism, Ecotourism and Agritourism-Are They Related?

paddlers

With increased demand in the great outdoors, agricultural landowners are uniquely positioned to take advantage of all forms of tourism. Agricultural lands in Louisiana are surrounded by nature and ecological systems that support the farm community. So, use whichever term attracts the clientele you desire; use it.

In northeast Louisiana an ecotourism group supported by the LSU AgCenter has been exploring paddling trails to draw more tourists into the area to appreciate our farmlands. This group has mapped three trails: Bayou Bartholomew, Bayou Macon and the Tensas River. A nationally known river guide, John Ruskey from Clarksdale, Miss., explored the waterways with members of the group in September. Ruskey’s report on his travel with the group and detailed information will be available on the Explore Louisiana North website in March. Just click on the “what to do” section.

MarketMaker Can Link Local Chefs to Local Markets

MarketMaker is an online tool that has the ability to connect local chefs to local markets. When a chef wants to buy local by using MarketMaker, he can locate a farmer or fisherman within miles of his restaurant. The website also can be useful for consumers, including individuals and retail stores who are seeking produce, meat, dairy products, seafood, farmers markets, roadside stands, grocery stores and restaurants.

It serves as a central clearinghouse for locating agricultural and seafood products in Louisiana.The site is free! So click here and check it out.

Adding the Internet to Your Business Recipe

eXtension posted this article in 2007, and today it’s more applicable than ever. The article provides some case studies on why the Internet is important. Below is an excerpt from the article:

Jericho Settlers Farm, which sells vegetables, flowers, meat and eggs, launched its website, http://www.jerichosettlersfarm.com, in 2006. The site includes photos, a farm journal and recipes. Customers can download Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and meat order forms and mail them in with payment. The site gives customers a behind-the-scenes look at the farm, said Christa Alexander, who runs the farm with her husband, Mark Fasching, and her mother, Emilie Alexander.

“It gives people a chance to learn about our philosophy,” Alexander, 32, explained. “To tie people to the farm community and the reasons we’re here.” Jericho Settlers’ Farm includes its web address on all labels, brochures and emails to generate traffic to the site. Thinking about how consumers search for products and finding ways to get people to your website are essential to developing a successful site. It’s important to consider what you want your website to do and how it fits in with your marketing strategy.

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