- Education and Training: networking, workshop
- Farm Business Management: agritourism
- Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures, community development
During the winter of 2004, five Hoosier Agri-Tourism Conferences were conducted across the State of Indiana. There was a definite interest from producers and rural residents around the state and a desire to learn more about starting new ventures in agri-tourism. Participation at these conferences by Educators was minimal due to the fact that they were not the intended audience. Educators have little experience and expertise in advising producers who want to start agri-tourism new ventures on their farmers. There are also a limited number of Educators in Indiana that are trained in the Nx Level program which is designed to help producers write business plans for new ventures. Educators can transfer the knowledge and skills learned through workshops, conference, and the Nx Level program to producers who are asking for help in starting agri-tourism activities on their farms. Partnerships could be established to build the resource base needed by those asking for assistance and help in starting agri-tourism businesses. Six Regional Educational Workshops for Educators will be conducted at different locations to allow the Educators to become aware of the resources to form teams and partnerships to foster agri-tourism around the State of Indiana. The Educators will also team up with producers to participate in the Nx Level program. A statewide agri-tourism pre-conference will be held before the Indiana Horticultural Congress in January 2005 and 2006. A Statewide/Regional resource guide will be developed to assist educators, partners, and producers in developing new ventures in agri-tourism.
Project objectives from proposal:
The short term outcomes of this project will include an increased awareness of the agri-tourism potential by Educators across the state. 30 Educators will increase their knowledge of the resources and partners that can assist producers in starting agri-tourism ventures on their farms. 25 Educators and 25 producers will complete the Nx Level program. This will be broken down to five Educators and five Producers taking the program at five regional sites around the state. 25 educators will increase their knowledge in the steps needed to build an agri-tourism venture, with 25 educators gaining the skills to help producers write business plans, and 30 educators will considers agr-tourism a viable endeavor for sustainability on the farm by attending the workshops around the state.
Medium outcomes include that 25 educators will use skills learned to assist producers in building agri-tourism businesses in their farms, 20 educators will facilitate the development of agri-tourism teams around the state, five educators will conduct local workshops as a result of this training initiative, and 20 educators will use the resource guide to assist agri-tourism entrepreneurs.
The long term outcome will be that a statewide network will be established to foster enterprises that will contribute to farm and rural sustainability.