- Education and Training: farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking
- Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, marketing management, market study, value added, whole farm planning
- Production Systems: agroecosystems
- Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships, urban/rural integration, community services, social networks
This project provided a research-based, Colorado-specific curriculum and strong local producer networks to establish and support agritourism as a viable alternative enterprise for Colorado’s ag producers. Nine one-day training workshops educated 264 participants, including producers (63%), federal, state and local agency staff (14%), educators (7%), community tourism members (8%), media (3%), and other support organizations (7%). Sixty-four percent of participants reported that they had formed new partnerships in their communities related to agritourism. Several regional initiatives are now supported by professional staff who received training and resources under this project, 44% of whom indicated that they had been contacted by farmers and ranchers interested in learning more about agritourism, 63% had been able to discuss ideas with producers, and 53% had referred producers to the project materials.
The two primary objectives of this project were to:
1. Directly impact the economic sustainability of producers in Colorado by providing business technical assistance to producers and their business support systems (Cooperative Extension, NRCS personnel, Chambers of Commerce, economic development corporations, small business development centers, community college staff) on the unique business, land resource and customer managements issues associated with agritourism enterprises in different areas of Colorado. We will highlight alternative marketing approaches and assess the managerial economics of alternative agricultural systems such as those integrating service-oriented and conservation-based agritourism.
2. Contribute to the economic viability of rural communities by providing professional development to producers’ business support systems on topics such as joint marketing and promotional programs, necessary investments in tourism infrastructure (lodging, regional visitor centers) and enhanced referral programs among businesses and organizations.