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Conference Name Stronger together: Reducing agritourism risk through clusters and farm trails

Penny Leff and Doolarie SIngh-Knights

Summary

Stronger together: Reducing agritourism risk through clusters and farm trails

Farmers and ranchers diversifying with agritourism enterprises need to understand new risks, develop new skills and build new partnerships. Forming and sustaining regional agritourism associations that promote together as farm trails or clusters of similar operations and organize collaborative events, has been reported by producers to be a particularly helpful strategy for small-scale agritourism operations. These agritourism associations are often also more able than individual producers to influence regional regulatory changes to benefit agritourism operators.

This session will discuss educational and professional development projects in West Virginia and California that assisted producers in the development of agritourism clusters and farm trails. We will briefly present educational and technical assistance methods used and project results, including challenges and successes. We will also share the results of interviews with more than twenty agricultural service providers and leaders of agritourism associations in California and West Virginia, offering insights into the challenges and best practices for developing and sustaining regional agritourism associations. Overall, this information will be useful to educators and agritourism operators as they seek to build strategic partnerships to enhance destination viability, increase profitability and mitigate risks in agritourism.

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