Malinda Geisler, P&S, Ag Marketing Resource Center
With growing interest in the state’s agritourism industry, Iowa State University Extension helped plan and host the Visit Iowa Farms conference on March 15 in Ames. The conference drew 85 attendees and was coordinated by the Iowa Agritourism Working Group
Iowa State initiated the Iowa Agritourism Working Group in 2006, which is supported by the Value Added Agriculture Program and other departments within ISU Extension. The group includes representatives from the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, the Iowa Department of Agriculture, Iowa Department of Economic Development, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area.
Sessions at the Visit Iowa Farms conference focused on marketing, which was what producers had indicated they needed help with in an online survey. Topics covered included marketing plan development, Web site marketing, market research, ad creation and farm signage. It also featured producer presentations of their agritourism ventures.
During the conference, the new Web site www.visitiowafarms.org/ was announced. The Web site provides resource information for producers and a place for farms to be listed. The site also allows consumers to search for farms to visit by type of service, region and amenities.
The Iowa Farm Bureau provided funding for the conference lunch and breaks. The conference was also funded through grant money from the North Central Risk Management Education Center and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.
Overall, the conference received positive feedback from attendees. There was a desire to see some sessions repeated since so many good topics were offered. Attendees confirmed that March was a good time of year for a meeting.
130 Horticulture: Commercial and Consumer
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September 26, 2008
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