Faulkton is a Hub for the New AgritourismSD Program: Sign Up!

Monday, January 11, 2021

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A new pathway for operations diversification is here for farms and ranches in Faulk County, South Dakota: agritourism. Agritourism is where agriculture and tourism meet to provide a new income stream for farmers while drawing visitors to the area.

For many, agritourism may seem like a new term, so you might not realize just how familiar you are with the concept. Agritourism is u-pick fields and orchards, corn mazes, and hunting properties, but really, your imagination is the limit. It can take the shape of creating entertainment ventures like wedding venues, bed and breakfast accommodations, campfire nights, stargazing tours, or photography scavenger hunts. It can be developing educational activities such as farm work experiences, tours, and demonstrations. Churning butter, anyone?

Are you excited by the prospect, but wonder what are next steps? South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension has developed AgritourismSD. This new two-year intensive educational program is designed to provide the tools, resources, and skills needed to start an agritourism enterprise.

Agritourism“For those who have had an idea or are currently doing agritourism that they want to expand, AgritourismSD is a wonderful program to help put all the pieces together that you need to develop a new enterprise,” said Stacy Hadrick, SDSU Extension Associate and Program Coordinator.

During the two-year program, you will engage with other participants and experts through interactive webinars and face-to-face workshops throughout the state, all the while networking. In out-of-state learning experiences, you will meet with Case Study Coaches who have strong agritourism enterprises. You will be coached through the process of enhancing or developing your agritourism business with the goal of launching by the end of the 2-year class period. 

All local businesses have a reason to be excited about this program because Faulkton was one of three communities including Timber Lake and Wall, chosen to be a Hub. This means participants will work with community partners to foster Faulk County as an agritourism destination. More visitors translates into more business for all. Hubs will serve as community models that other participants can recreate in their own local communities

agritourismThe program will run from May 2021 - May 2023. Up to 20 operations will be selected based on an application and Zoom interview process. Participants are required to commit to the full two years and take an active role in all program components. The registration fee is $1,250 per individual; the program is funded by a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program grant.

Participants must be involved in production agriculture and have less than 10 years of agritourism experience, or possess a strong desire to start an agritourism enterprise in the future. But maybe most important of all, farmers and ranchers picked for the program should be comfortable with serving up hospitality when they open their properties to the public.

On the fence about whether agritourism is right for you? Ask yourself:

  • Can you make the shift to think about yourself as a service industry?
  • Can you create a safe, and inviting atmosphere for people visiting your operation?
  • Will you enjoy having people visit your farm/ranch?
  • Are you willing to work and entertain visitors on weekends, evenings, and holidays, when they are most often available to come to your farm?
  • Do you have a passion for sharing agriculture with the public?
  • Can you manage the additional business responsibilities associated with an agritourism operation (marketing, employee management, and customer relations)?

agritourismReady to learn more? For questions or more information about the program or Hub recruitment, contact Stacy Hadrick, SDSU Extension Associate and Program Coordinator at 605-374-1195 or stacy.hadrick@sdstate.edu. You can view the AgritourismSD brochure here.

Faulkton Area Economic Development is always available to help you with your local business needs. Phone 605-598-3050 or 605-949-9507 or email Trevor Cramer, Director of Economic Development, at trevorcramer@yahoo.com. Follow us on Facebook,Twitter,YouTube, and Linkedin!

 

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