Extension News

Visit Iowa Farms Agritourism Conference Planned for March 7 at Honey Creek Resort

1/23/2009

The second annual Visit Iowa Farms conference will be held March 7 at the brand new Honey Creek Resort near Lake Rathbun, Moravia, Iowa. The conference agenda will focus on becoming a popular agritourism destination and is geared towards individuals involved in agritourism or those interested in agritourism.

Sessions will target safety considerations for agritourism operations, county regulations and legal issues, attracting visitors and bus groups, increasing on-farm sales farm signage and more. Partial funding for the conference is provided by the North Central Risk Management Education Center and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

A team of service providers from across the state hopes to grow the Iowa landscape for agritourism operations. The team, which has been meeting for two years, hopes to help Iowa agritourism producers begin or expand their business and marketing efforts.

The Iowa Agritourism Working Group, supported by the Value Added Agriculture Program and other departments within Iowa State University Extension, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, the Iowa Department of Agriculture, Iowa Department of Economic Development, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area, Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Iowa Winegrowers Association, Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, Des Moines Chapter of Buy Fresh, Buy Local and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture is promoting the conference to address the importance and issues surrounding marketing agritourism operations.

Value Added Agriculture Program Director Ray Hansen said this team addresses important challenges in growing this industry in Iowa.

“Interest in rural and nature tourism activities continue to grow in Iowa, and spending on rural trips is a growing percentage of total Iowa tourism revenues. Our goal is to enable producers to grow this industry,” Hansen said.

For complete agenda and registration information, visit www.visitiowafarms.org or contact the ISU Extension Value Added Agriculture Program office at (515) 294-9483. Producers are also encouraged to register their operation online. This web site was designed to promote Iowa’s agritourism industry – registration is free and allows consumers to find agritourism operations by location or type.

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Contacts :

Marsha Laux, Value Added Agriculture Program, (319) 796-4362, mlaux@iastate.edu

Malinda Geisler, Value Added Agriculture Program, (515) 964-2640, malindag@iastate.edu

Christa Hartsook, Value Added Agriculture Program, (515) 294-4430, hartc@iastate.edu