Campbell County’s Department of Economic Development and Extension Offices are teaming up to host an Agritourism Workshop for full-time or part-time farmers at all stages of agritourism involvement on February 23, 2023. Attendees can expect a packed half-day schedule from 9:00-1:00pm, including an overview of agritourism benefits, insight from experienced local hosts, considerations on zoning and insurance, as well as interactive activities with ideas for potential agritourism events and avenues for marketing attractions at a variety of budgets will also be included. The workshop is free, but pre-registration for the event is needed due to limited space. If registration exceeds maximum capacity, future workshop dates may be scheduled to accommodate.
Presenters at the workshop include Delvin Yoder of Yoders’ Farm and Bonnie Swanson of Evergreen Lavender Farms, who will discuss the ways their agritourism offerings have developed over several years. Jawanza Hall, founder of Blackwater Branding and Marketing and Branding Advisor at the Small Business Development Center-Lynchburg Region will lead exercises that will help to define ways that each farm can set itself apart from others. Austin Mitchell from Campbell County Zoning and Community Development will go over what is and isn’t included under agricultural zoning. Mitch Mason from Farm Bureau Insurance will discuss safety and liability concerns. Campbell County Extension Agent Todd Scott will discuss the role Cooperative Extension can play in developing agritourism opportunities.
“We are excited to have gathered such a fantastic group of presenters,” says Nina Rezai, Campbell County Economic Development Director. “We appreciate their generosity in providing this access to their experience and expertise. Our goal is for this workshop to be a space where farmers will feel comfortable talking through ideas and discussing any reservations they might have about branching out into this unfamiliar territory. “
According to data from the US Department of Agriculture, farm agritourism revenue more than tripled between 2002 and 2017 and outdoor recreation and activities grew significantly more while COVID-related policies limited indoor options. With agritourism farms close to urban areas tending to have higher agritourism revenues, Campbell County’s proximity to Lynchburg makes the potential for success even stronger.
“Agriculture dominates the land use in Campbell County,” says Economic Development Specialist Molly Eden. “Agritourism can be a valuable revenue source as more people are looking to explore rural areas and learn more about the origin of their food.”
Advantages of Agritourism for Farms:
• Develops an added source of farm-based income to support the primary farming business
• Provides an opportunity to sell directly to customers and allows customers to get a better picture of how food is produced
• Maximizes the assets farms have: farmers know-how and/or existing facilities
• Wide array of potential activities allows farmers to customize offerings to meet the amount of time, budget, space, and effort that the farmers are interested in providing.
Advantages of the Campbell County Agritourism Workshop:
• Dozens of ideas for potential agritourism offerings
• Learn about zoning, permitting, and forming an LLC
• Information on safety considerations for protecting your visitors and your farm
• Networking opportunities to find collaborators so you can grow together
• Specific techniques to establish your farm’s brand and market your agritourism offerings
• Valuable advice from experienced local hosts on how they started, what they have learned, and how Extension helped them get things started
• Opportunities to ask questions and learn about available resources
• Interactive activities for developing a farm brand and marketing your agritourism events
Register online to reserve your seat at http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=i8zthvebb&oeidk=a07ejly7egxe1b13fb0. Farmers who want to interact more with customers, share their expertise, promote farm products, or just want to diversify and increase farm income will find this free workshop a valuable resource to discover an innovative way to use the amazing asset that is their farm.
Situated to the south and east of the City of Lynchburg, Campbell County’s rolling hills and vibrant agricultural community make it an ideal location for local day trips. With lodging opportunities across the County, extended stays for visitors allow for greater exploration of Campbell County and the entire scenic Central Virginia region. With the Upper Staunton River stretching along the entire southern border from Leesville Lake to Brookneal, fishing and paddling experiences can provide quality outdoor recreation opportunities ideal for families and anyone looking to unplug, unwind, and explore.
Reach out with questions to the Economic Development department by visiting campbellvirginia.com, calling (434) 332-9595, or email email@example.com.