Agritourism entrepreneurs and farmers considering agritourism enterprises are encouraged to attend a special conference Jan. 22-23 in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
The 2007 Agritourism: Cultivating Farm Revenue conference will include educational sessions, a trade show and opportunities to network with other entrepreneurs and service providers.
"The first conference held in November 2005 was attended by more than 280 people from 11 states," says Megan Bruch, marketing specialist with the University of Tennessee's Center for Profitable Agriculture and one of the conference planners. "The feedback from that conference was overwhelmingly positive, and we hope this conference will be even more valuable for those who attend."
The conference will feature presentations on branding, marketing, pricing, risk management, evaluating resources, growing enterprises, hospitality, safety, and visitor characteristics and preferences. The conference will also include several "Agritourism in Action" sessions where participants will hear from experienced agritourism entrepreneurs.
Conference participants are encouraged to bring photographs of their operations or marketing materials to display in a special exhibit at the trade show called "Agritourism in Action: Show Your Stuff." Participants may also choose special "networking topic tables" to share conversation with other attendees about a topic of interest over lunch.
"Sharing ideas and experiences among entrepreneurs is very valuable," says Dan Strasser, agritourism coordinator with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and another of the conference planners. "We are incorporating several activities to facilitate networking during the two-day conference."
The conference is among efforts sponsored by the Tennessee Agritourism Initiative partners to build farm income in the state. Initiative partners include the state's departments of Agriculture, Tourist Development and Economic and Community Development; the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation; and UT Extension. Funding for the conference comes, in part, from Initiative partners, the Tennessee Agritourism Association and USDA Rural Development.
Conference information is available online at the Center for Profitable Agriculture's Web site at http://cpa.utk.edu.
Online registration can be accessed on the site as well. There is a registration fee of $75 if registered by Dec. 15. Late registration is $125.
Early registration is encouraged as space is limited.