Agritourism Training for Agriculture Professionals
The program will train and support a network of extension agents who can initially assist farm families as they consider developing an agritourism operation. The hands-on training will focus on evaluating potential agritourism opportunities, identifying legal and regulatory issues and developing marketing strategies for an agritourism enterprise. The target audience will be Georgia, North Carolina extension agents and other agricultural professionals. The workshop anticipates 80 extension agents from Georgian and North Carolina and additional 20 from South Carolina and Tennessee. An advisory committee of North Carolina extension agents and farmers will be organized to identify the topics and select speakers for the workshop. The workshop advisory committee will meet two times to plan the workshop. Travel scholarships will be provided. Successful farmers will be invited to speak at the workshop.
The objectives for the agritourism training program are:
1. After participating in the agritourism training workshop, extension agents and other agricultural professionals will have the background to identify issues that are significant to agritourism. The agents and farmers will use the manual to evaluate the economic feasibility of potential agritourism operations. The manual will allow the agents and farmers to work through the various regulatory, legal, marketing and financial issues facing agritourism operations and enable them to more effectively evaluate the business opportunity.
2. One hundred extension agents will learn how evaluate the feasibility of a new agritourism enterprise, identify legal and regulatory issues, and develop a marketing strategy in two-day agritourism workshops in Georgia and North Carolina. Tennessee and South Carolina extension agents will be invited to attend.
3. Fifty extension agents who cannot attend the workshop will complete the agritourism training via a web based and CD-ROM training.
4. The one hundred training participants will utilize the training and resources in their county. Twenty-five extension agents will organize agritourism programs as a result of the training.
5. Twenty farm families will explore agritourism as an opportunity to diversify their operations by using the resources developed from training.
6. As a result of this training, Georgia and North Carolina will conduct an agritourism workshop. In addition agents will work with 10 farmers from each state.
On April 27-29th, 2009 the Business Side of Agritourism workshop was held. We had 85 participants from Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and South Carolina.
On the 27th, there was a tour of three agritourism operations in Western North Carolina. One was a skeet shooting and bird hunting operation, the second was a bed and breakfast perched high in the Appalachian Mountains and the third was a sustainable farm that sold local produce, livestock products and plants to the local community.
The Second and third days consisted of workshop sessions focused on topic identified by the advisory committees.
Prior to the workshops a manual was developed to provide agents and agricultural professionals with information and tools to use in working with producers. The information was focused on providing them with tools to help them understand and make decisions regarding the starting or expansion of an agritourism operation. The manual and handouts were funded by SARE. Additional web material is being constructed.
January 5th and 6th, 2010 Clemson University hosted a train the trainer event in Sand Hills, South Carolina. The event attracted 30 agricultural professions from around the state. The workshop utilized the manual developed for the 2009, Asheville workshop. The workshop’s agenda was very similar to the agenda in Asheville adn focused on issues that impact agritoursim operations. This includes being able to evaluate economic feasibility of an operation as well as to identify regulations, legal issues and marketing obsticles to help their constituents.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Thus far, we have three agritoruism workshops underdevelopment in Georgia as a result of the Regional workshop we held in Asheville. There is an additional workshop being developed in North Carolina as well.
North Carolina held a workshop that was developed from county agents that attended the workshop in Asheville in 2009. The Clemson workshop has sparked interest across the state in agritourism and they are currently working to develop materials for their agents and constituents .
Public Service Assistant
Univ of GA Center for Agribusiness and Economic De
222 Conner Hall
Athens, GA 30602
Office Phone: 7065420752
North Carolina State
Raleigh, NC 27695
Office Phone: 9195156096