WV farmers are exploring agritourism as an emerging agribusiness opportunity because of its flexibility, and income-diversification and cash-flow potential for small operations. WV is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this opportunity having the highest family farms/capita in the nation and >20,000 small/part-time operations. State-wide needs assessments suggest a risk-management and business planning approach is needed to help agritourism operators better evaluate and manage the potential risks and returns associated with their enterprises.
This presentation discusses 4 main aspects of the ‘WV Agritourism Initiative,’ an agritourism short-course to enhance enterprise viability and profitability. Firstly, we outline the priority areas and related risk-management tools in designing the course curriculum. Priority topics included Assessing Consumer Demand against Your Agritourism Potential; the Business-Side of Agritourism – Profitability and Market Feasibility; Managing Legal Liability and Farm Safety Planning; Event and/or Educational Curriculum Planning; and Building Effective Partnerships. Secondly we highlight ‘best practices for sustained adult learning’ that were incorporated throughout the short-course, including strategies to uncover learners mental models, to allow learners to contribute to content and outcomes, to link content to learner’s prior experiences, and to provide a safe environment for learning. Thirdly, we describe the key partnerships that made this project a success. Lastly, we describe notable project outcomes and impacts based on post-evaluation surveys.
This information can be adapted for use by other agricultural service providers in designing their educational activities, including but not limited to agritourism programming, leading to risk mitigation and sound enterprise decision-making, and sustained learning for adult learners.
|Conference||2016 Extension Risk Management Education National Conference|