The Louisiana Agritourism Connection June 2015

Dora Ann Hatch  |  6/10/2015 9:23:12 PM

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: announcement of Annie’s Project workshop; information on starting an agritourism business in the summer and fall months; regulations regarding animals used in agritourism operations; tips on direct marketing and festivals; bug webinars; agenda for the Louisiana Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association Meeting and Field Day.

Annie's Project Scheduled for Ruston in July

Annie’s Project is designed by agricultural women for women who have or hope to have a business in agriculture.The five-week class will be held each Thursday night beginning July 9, 2015, and running through August 6, 2015, from 5-8:30 p.m. in at the community room at Community Trust Bank located at 1511 North Trenton Street in Ruston.

Each Thursday evening, three speakers will address one of 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.

Registration deadline is July 2. Cost for the class is $75 payable at registration. For more information contact: Deborah Cross-Young, state coordinator, at dcross@agcenter.lsu.edu or 225-281-9470; or Angie Fogleman, president, Acadiana RC&D, at angie@acadianarcd.com or 337-262-1776; or Olivia Ward, Trailblazer RC&D, at Olivia@trailblazer.org or 318-255-3554.

Starting Your Agritourism Business

Starting an agritourism operation can be daunting, but it does not have to be. The LSU AgCenter has online fact sheets and direct access to an agent who works primarily with agritourism. Log on to www.lsuagcenter.com/agritourism to learn more or give Dora Ann Hatch a call at (318) 927-9654 ext. 229 or email her at dhatch@agcenter.lsu.edu.

Host Summer Events for Children

Summertime is a perfect time to launch an agritourism activity. Children are out of school and need something exciting to do. Consider hosting an event on your farm for a day or for a week. Teach them how to plant, harvest or prepare foods straight from the garden. Imagine their excitement when they return home with a jar of jelly made from the berries they picked. To learn more about how to start an agritourism enterprise, click here.

Plan Ahead for Fall Events

As you wind down with summer events, start designing something new for your fall operation. Some of my favorite ideas can be found at the LSU AgCenter’s agritourism website page under “resources.” Click here to read.

Animal Welfare Act Applies to Some Agritourism Operations

Agritourism operators who use animals as part of their agritourism venture are subject to the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act regulations. 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 call 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 programs and where animals live and review how animal feed is stored.

Tips on Direct Marketing for Farmers and Growers

For some farmers, growing fruits and vegetables is easy compared to selling the produce through farmers markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) or roadside stands where earning the customers’ trust and loyalty is important. Winning over customers can take time but can be financially rewarding. Click here for tips on how to increase your direct sales through farmers markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) or roadside stands.

Use Festivals to Showcase Agricultural Commodities

The Peach Fest in Ruston will celebrate 65 years this June and is one of the oldest agricultural festivals in the state. Festivals offer agriculture an excellent way to showcase its commodities. Add entertainment to the mix, and you have agritourism.

This year’s Peach Fest dates are June 26-27. A complete list of activities can be found by clicking here.

All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series

The All Bugs Good and Bad 2015 Webinar Series provides helpful information for the home gardener. It is brought to you by the following eXtension Communities of Practice: Imported Fire Ants, and Urban IPM; and by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Click here to see recordings of the entire series.

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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