The Louisiana Agritourism Connection September 2013

Dora Ann Hatch  |  8/27/2013 8:56:42 PM

Agritourism

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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

In August, I had the opportunity to travel to Michigan for the National Extension Tourism Conference, where I met with some of the leading agritourism and nature-based tourism leaders in our nation. Our conference was well attended, and the speakers were excellent. During the conference I gave a presentation on new partnerships that are developing in the Louisiana Delta to promote nature-based tourism on government and privately owned lands. In this newsletter, I will share some of the programs I attended at the conference that have potential for Louisiana.

Other topics covered in this edition include marketing agritourism online, farm-to-table events, arts and eats in Michigan, Fermata founder insights into tourism and workshops schedules for October.

Interative brochure on agritourism online marketing

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The University of Nebraska has developed an interactive online brochure to assist entrepreneurs in learning how to market their agritourism destinations online. This publication shares how to bring tourists to your farm or agricultural destination by using your website as a catalyst to other social media sites that include YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn. It’s excellent. Set aside some time to explore the many opportunities.

Recreational tourism guide for communities

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Recreational tourism can include: agritourism, heritage tourism, eco-tourism, nature-based tourism, etc. Most of the opportunities can be found in rural settings.

The Louisiana Agritourism Limited Liability Law, which was passed in 2008, lists a number of opportunities for landowners to engage in and receive protection under the law. Although the activities are listed as agritourism, they could also be considered eco-tourism and nature-based tourism.

"Developing Naturally: An Exploratory Process for Nature-Based Community Tourism" is a manual that was written by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service and provides great insight in how to develop a region for tourism using natural resources.

Farm-to-table events

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In Colorado, Rock Bottom Ranch is experimenting with agritourism by offering meals that come straight from the land. The agricultural nonprofit Rock Bottom Ranch, owned and operated by the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, hosted two farm-to-table dinners this summer with a third booked for September.

Farmer, chef and ranch manager Jason Smith believes this type of activity is a way to connect people with locally grown, farm-fresh foods from the area. Tours of the farm give insight into where the food on the table originates and the work that goes into those products.

How much will people pay? Smith kept the menu a secret for the first two dinners and charged $75 for the first and $90 for the second; he has not set the price of the third. The first two dinners sold out within days.

Arts and eats in Michigan

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Back-road art, food and farm tours are receiving lots of attention in Michigan. The Arts and Eats Tour began as a means to raise awareness and appreciation for the region’s natural resources, rural areas, land, forests and villages/towns. Their goal is to educate people about the benefits of purchasing locally grown foods, supporting local artists and learning the connections between restaurants, farmers and local foods.

This is a great idea for us in Louisiana. We could lure the urban visitor to the countryside to take advantage of learning about food, fiber and art.

Fermata, Inc. founder Ted Eubanks talks about “Space for Place”

Ted Eubanks was one of the keynotes for the recently held National Extension Tourism Conference. At the conference, Eubanks’ presentation “Space for Place” encouraged people to tell stories about a destination because, he said, people will travel for the story. He encouraged using travel stories to foster, shape and direct tourism information.

He suggests determining what is important where you live by asking yourself the following questions. Is it placed well? Is it real? Does it benefit locals? Is it intriguing? Is it experiential rather than price driven? Is it sustainable? His complete presentation is available on his website under the National Extension Tourism article.

Outdoor business workshop for landowners in Delhi, Oct. 2, 2013

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This one-day workshop will provide landowners with information on supplemental income opportunities using natural resources on their land. Topics will include recreational enterprise potential on land; testimonial from a wildlife operator engaged in outdoor recreation; liability and legal considerations for recreational land use; Louisiana agritourism limited liability law; moist soil management for waterfowl; use and restrictions on USDA conservation program lands; farm bill update; forest management on lands enrolled in cost-share programs; wild hog control; MarketMaker; living with bears; and soil carbon and green trees program information.

Targeted participants include landowners and/or people who would like to develop an outdoor business using their land.

The workshop location is the Delhi Civic Center, located at 232 Denver Street in Delhi, La.

Registration is $15 per person or $20 per couple. Make checks payable to “LSU AgCenter.” Mail your check and registration with your name, address, phone number and email address by Friday, Sept. 27, to the LSU AgCenter, Richland Parish Office, P.O. Box 179, Rayville, LA 71269-0179.

Registration opens at 8 a.m., and the program concludes at 3:10 p.m.

Fruit and vegetable growers conference, Oct. 17, 2013, in Winnsboro

This one-day workshop will provide agricultural landowners with information they need to garden. The workshop topics include food safety modernization act, soil testing, financing, growing organic, selling locally, MarketMaker, opportunities for growers, Master Gardener program, Louisiana sweet potato industry update and a tour of the sweet potato research station.

The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Tom H. Scott Research & Extension Center located south of Winnsboro on Highway 15 across from Dennis Crain Dodge.

Register by calling Mavis Finger at 318-435-2155 or by emailing her. The cost is $10.

Horticulture Hints

Use information in the latest edition of Horticulture Hints improve the entrance to your agritourism operation or find out how to plant beds for seasonal color to liven up your property during the fall.

All the information contained in the brochure could also be used to educate your guests about plants and trees in the landscape.

National Agritourism Professionals Association (NAPA)

The NEW National Agritourism Professionals Association welcomes agricultural service providers across the United States and in Canada who work with agritourism farmers and farmers with on-farm direct markets. After incorporation in late 2013, NAPA will assist farmers with challenges in regulatory/policy areas such as zoning, taxes, food safety, liability, risk assessment or other legal concerns. For more information, contact Martha Glass, Agritourism Office, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at martha.glass@ncagr.gov or 919-707-3120.

NAPA hopes to welcome more Cooperative Extension professionals, managers of commodity cooperatives, state agriculture commodity groups, etc. to its organization.

 

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