The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) will sponsor an all-day Agritourism Workshop at the Waterfront Hotel in Morgantown Wednesday, February 29, 2012, as a preface to the WVU Extension Service’s Small Farms Conference in the same location March 1-3.
Although related, the Agritourism Workshop and Small Farms Conference are separate and require separate registrations.
“Agritourism is a growing niche market that can help farm owners add another income stream to their farm operations,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Gus R. Douglass. “Besides being an income opportunity, agritourism helps connect the public with the source of their food, which creates a greater awareness of the good work done by farmers everywhere.”
Among the featured speakers are Hugh McPherson, owner of Maize Quest, and Donna Alt of Brookdale Farms in Mineral County, West Virginia. McPherson is well-known throughout the eastern United States for his energetic and motivational presentations – and for franchising his Maize Quest product to more than 70 farms in the U.S., U.K. and Canada. Brookdale is a successful, diversified venture that features an annual corn maze, animal interaction and a working farm.
“The Agritourism Workshop may be of interest to anyone involved in farming, but we’re tailoring it to current or prospective agritourism business owners, fairs and festivals representatives, convention and visitors bureaus, chamber of commerce, and other local officials,” said WVDA Marketing and Development Division Director Jean Smith.
Agenda items include training and managing employees, connecting agriculture and tourism in West Virginia, fee fishing operations, educational programs, effective advertising, developing regional agritourism itineraries and event planning.
Commissioner of Agriculture Gus R. Douglass and Tourism Commissioner Betty Carver are scheduled to present the 2012 West Virginia Agritourism Awards following lunch. A full agenda is available at http://www.wvagriculture.org/images/marketing/ConferenceAgenda-1-2-12.pdf
Cost for the Agritourism Workshop is $65 and includes breakfast and lunch. To register, contact Melissa Hudson-Beller at 304-558-2210, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. WVDA cannot accept credit cards or cash. Checks can be mailed ahead of time and will be accepted the morning of the workshop.
Funding for this event is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crops Block Grant Program.
For more information on the Small Farms Conference, visit http://smallfarmcenter.ext.wvu.edu/conference/registration