Progress report for ONC22-110
Small farmers and acreage owners in Iowa are looking for opportunities to expand and diversify their operation. Agritourism has become an increasingly popular niche market that gives producers an opportunity to increase farm viability and connect with consumers. Opportunities to diversify small farms through agritourism include but are not limited to on-farm markets, fall festivals, u-picks, wineries, and on-farm dinners. This project will provide on-farm demonstrations from farmers with on-farm visitors to new or existing farmers with interest in expanding into agritourism. Financial sustainability through on-farm business and marketing, on-farm conservation practices, community engagement, and risk management best practices will be discussed by our partners.
- Host a demonstration field trip tour with four smaller scale agritourism business owners in central Iowa to share experience and practical information with farmers and community members interested in agritourism. Education will include the benefits and challenges with financial sustainability markets, conservation practices and community engagement.
- Bring together 40 small farmers, acreage owners, industry members and extension personnel to look at lower financial investment opportunities for development and growth in the agritourism industry.
- Create networking opportunities for farmers and industry members to discuss on-farm marketing potential in Iowa.
Educational & Outreach Activities
Progress Report 2/28/23, Year 1:
On August 31, 2023 the first Exploring Iowa Agritourism Ventures Bus Tour was held. The tour consisted of 4 farm stops where each of the educators shared about their operation and provided a tour for participants. There was 49 individuals who participated in the bus tour. During the travel time between farm stops Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Specialist provided a talk about food safety, legal risks, floriculture, and grant opportunities and educational resources. An evaluation was handed out at the conclusion of the tour for participants to provide feedback. We look forward to hosting a second Exploring Iowa Agritourism Ventures Bus Tour with 4 new educator partners in the summer 2023!
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach News Release
Progress Report 2/28/23:
In the first year of this project we had the opportunity to network, educate and inform bus tour participants on the opportunities for economic returns in agritourism. We also shared about environmental returns and on-farm sustainability practices each educator uses. Participants had great questions for the educators in learning more about their operation and practices and getting ideas to possibly implement on their farm and/or share with their business connections. Through agritourism the educators shared the social benefits they have experienced by opening their farm to visitors. These included community and public interaction and engagement as well as opportunity to share about agriculture and where consumers are getting their food. They each shared how adding agritourism and value-added agriculture to their farm has helped their farm become sustainable and how they have built on that over the years. We look forward to building off of this project for the second year and hosting a second Exploring Iowa Agritourism Ventures Bus Tour with 4 new educator partners in the summer 2023!