Economic Evaluation of Agricultural Diversification through Agritourism for the Intermountain West

2015 Annual Report for EW13-005

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2013: $74,492.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2015
Region: Western
State: Utah
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Kynda Curtis
Utah State University

Economic Evaluation of Agricultural Diversification through Agritourism for the Intermountain West


This project aims to disseminate best practices in food tourism enterprise development to Extension, Agency, and others working with agricultural producers and agritourism operators through development of a curriculum, web resources, and five workshops to be offered in Nevada, Utah, and Idaho. The audience for these workshops includes Extension educators, tribal staff, Department of Agriculture personnel, NRCS employees, county employees, conservation district staff, FSA personnel and other agribusiness and tourism professionals in Nevada, Utah, and Idaho.  The end goal is that our target audience will then work with producers and agritourism operators to implement food tourism enterprises as a diversification and revenue enhancement strategy.

Objectives/Performance Targets

At the end of the program it is our goal that program participants will have increased knowledge and skills regarding sustainable agriculture, as well as an enhanced ability to effectively deliver knowledge and skills to agricultural producers. The following is an overview of expected program short, medium and long-term outcomes for program participants.



  • Understand of economic, political, and environmental benefits of implementing food tourism enterprise


  • Understand the basic economics of diversification strategies, especially food tourism markets available to producers in the Intermountain West


  • Understand the components of evaluating the economic feasibility of food tourism


  • Understand tourist and tourism business purchase behaviors, needs, and motivations in relation to purchasing local foods



  • Create plan to introduce seminar curriculum and other SARE resources into producer programming


  • Work one-on-one with producers/agritoursm operators to evaluate the economic feasibility of food tourism for their operation


  • Assist producers/agritourism operators in developing a marketing plan that supports tourism promotional messages and strategies



  • Assist producers/agritoursm operators in implementing food tourism strategies for their operation


  • Assist producers/agritoursm operators in accessing food tourism networks and distribution channels


  • Assist producers/agritoursm operators with the measurement of changes in profitability and economic sustainability of their food tourism diversification strategies




  • Curriculum finalized (PowerPoints, worksheets, and evaluations) and presented in the February 2015 workshops.


  • Written color curriculum book will be finalized and edited summer 2015 and printed in fall 2015. The book will also be mailed out to all workshops participants fall 2015.


  • All curriculum materials will be uploaded with the final project report.



  • Brochures and press releases created and distributed through Extension networks, social media, and print media in Utah, Nevada, and Idaho January 2015.


  • Programming completed in Nevada, Utah, and Idaho with 97 extension educators, producers/food processor, and Extension/Tribal/Agency personnel in Salt Lake City, Pocatello, Reno, and St. George February 18-22, 2015. All workshops have been completed.


  • A retrospective program evaluation was designed and administered at the workshops.


  • A one year follow-up evaluation has been designed.


Professional Presentations

  • Slocum, S. and K.R. Curtis, “Food Tourism: A Vehicle for Agricultural Diversification in the Intermountain West.” Selected paper of the 2014 National Value-Added Conference, Baltimore, MD, May 2014.


  • Curtis, K.R. and S. Slocum, “Farm and Food Tourism: Exploring Opportunities in the West.” Selected paper presented at the 2015 Extension Risk Management Education National Conference, Minneapolis, MN, April 2015.


  • Curtis, K.R., M. Bradshaw, and S. Slocum, “The Role of Food and Culinary Tourism Demand in the Western US.” Selected paper presented at the 2015 National Value-Added Agriculture Conference, Austin, TX, May 2015.


  • Curtis, K.R., S. Slocum, and D. Deepayan, “Expanding Direct Marketing Opportunities through Farm Shops in Western Tourism Destinations.” Selected paper of the 2014 National Value-Added Conference, Baltimore, MD, May 2014.


Additional Grant Funding (Expanded Research and Outreach)

  • Principal Investigator/Project Director: Western Center for Risk Management Education Grant, 2014-2015. $32,000. Expanding Direct Marketing Opportunities in the Intermountain West through Farm Shops.


  • Principal Investigator/Project Director: Utah Extension Program Grant, 2013-2014. $10,000. Expanding economic development and diversification opportunities for Utah’s farmers and ranchers through food tourism.


Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Short-Term Impacts


Detailed tables of the workshop retrospective evaluation results have been uploaded below.

  • 97 participants over 5 programs


  • Retrospective evaluation results
      • Ag producers/food producer – 69%, Extension/Agency – 31%


      • Rated workshop helpful/very helpful – 91%


      • Will use workshop materials in job/operation – 87%


      • Would recommend workshop to others – 99%


      • The value of attending is more than $500 – 51%


      • The level of understanding/skills increased (from 25 to 75% on average)


      • Mid-term actions look promising (intention ratings greater than 3.5 out of 5)




Medium and Long-Term Impacts


A 12-month follow-up evaluation (web-based) will be conducted June 2015 through December 2015. These evaluations will provide medium and long-term impact results.


Susan Slocum
Assistant Professor
George Mason University
Bull Run Hall 201D
10900 University Blvd MS 4E5
Manassas, VA 20110
Office Phone: 7039934260
Kynda Curtis
Associate Professor
Utah State University
4835 Old Main
Logan, UT 84322
Office Phone: 4357970444