The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) will sponsor an all-day Agritourism Workshop Thursday, February 28, as part of the WVU Extension Service’s Small Farm Conference, which will be held at the Waterfront Hotel in Morgantown February 27-March 2.]
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Walt Helmick noted that agritourism can provide financial benefits to farms and educational opportunities to the public.
“Agritourism can have a direct impact on our state’s rural communities and economies,” said Commissioner Helmick. “Our agriculture businesses can demonstrate what farming is all about, while at the same time improving their bottom lines. I encourage all stakeholders in the industry to attend this workshop, which will be an excellent informational and networking opportunity.”
West Virginia leads the nation in its percentage of family-owned and operated farms, which provides them the flexibility to explore new business models, Commissioner Helmick added.
Featured speakers include:
- Mark Lewis, President and CEO of the Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, will address marketing, promotions and sponsorships while emphasizing the importance of partnerships in agriculture and tourism collaborations.
- West Virginia Tourism Commissioner Dave Arnold, managing director of Class VI River Runners, will talk about the needs and expectations of today’s traveler, keeping the agritourism experience in mind.
- Ohio State University Extension Educator Eric Barrett will discuss emergency planning on the farm and within agritourism operations. He will also present his newly developed toolkit that he unveiled at the recent national agritourism conference in Oregon.
- Dr. Dee Singh-Knights, Assistant Professor at WVU, will delve into the financial and planning functions needed for starting, expanding and maintaining agritourism.
- Technical assistance with planning and business development will also be a focus of the day-long program.
The cost of the workshop is $70 and includes breakfast and lunch. Lunch will feature the annual West Virginia Agritourism Media Awards. For registration information and a full agenda, visit http://smallfarmcenter.ext.wvu.edu/conference.
Department of Agriculture