March 10, 2009
Department of Agriculture Offers Marketing Assistance to Missouri Farmers Interested in Agritourism
(JEFFERSON CITY, MO) – Agritourism has become an ever–growing segment of Missouri’s agriculture industry and an important component to farms across the state. Agritourism opportunities offers producers a chance to add value and income to their farms while providing Missourians a chance to experience agriculture through pumpkin patches, u–pick strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, apple and peach orchards, on–farm tours and corn mazes. The Missouri Department of Agriculture’s AgriMissouri program offers marketing assistance and opportunities to those food manufactures, farmers, producers, agritourism businesses and farmers’ markets that are interested in adding value to their existing operations or beginning a new venture.
“Agritourism businesses continue to provide Missouri families and visitors to our state with a multitude of affordable and educational day trips or weekend adventures. Agritourism is a benefit to farmers and also to communities across the state,” said Dr. Jon Hagler, director of the Department of Agriculture. “As part of our AgriMissouri program, the Department of Agriculture is helping Missouri farmers add revenue to their farms and provides them the tools needed to succeed in agritourism.”
Since 1985, the AgriMissouri program has assisted members in marketing their agritourism locations and Missouri–made products. Assisting start–up entrepreneurs is but one facet of the AgriMissouri program. Other areas include a membership program where members are listed in the online Buyers’ Guide located at www.agrimissouri.com. The Buyer’s Guide provides members an opportunity to describe their product or company, list retail locations or hours of operation and include photos of their company or product. Another business tool, the Agritourism Map, provides an online reference to agritourism locations across the state. In 2008, over 10,000 Agritourism Maps were distributed to consumers across Missouri.
AgriMissouri memberships are available to all Missouri agritourism farms or agribusinesses. The annual membership fee is $50 and includes a business listing on the Agritourism Map; the 2009 deadline to be listed on the map is March 27. To learn more about AgriMissouri or agritourism, contact Sarah Gehring at (573) 522-9213 or visit www.agrimissouri.com.