By far, tourism and agriculture are the two top economic drivers in Florida. In fact, according to VISIT FLORIDA, the Sunshine State welcomed an all-time record number of visitors (60.7 million) during the first half of 2017. The Agritourism sector continues to expand and transform, helping farming operations – big and small – not only connect with consumers, but also earn extra income.
As the segment grows, there is much to learn. To help more growers who are considering or already pursuing Agritourism, policymakers, and businesses interested in developing cooperative efforts with Agritourism operators, the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service in Bartow is hosting the 2017 Central Florida Agritourism Conference, September 26-27.
The two-day event, backed by the Central Florida Development Council, the Polk County Florida Farm Bureau, Farm Credit of Central Florida, and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, will feature a full slate of informative education sessions, including a unique perspective from guest speaker Carmen Snyder, who will provide an overview of the inner workings of Sonoma County (CA) Farm Trails, an organization which she leads. “They’ve been doing this for more than 40 years, so they must know something,” says Mary Beth Henry, Polk County UF/IFAS Extension Agent.
Henry says excitement is building for the gathering, which will be the area’s first to focus on Agritourism potential and opportunity.
On a similar note, the UF/IFAS Martin County Extension office recently held a regional workshop on Agritourism.
In addition to the speaker portion of the program, Day 2 will include the opportunity to tour multiple local Agritourism operations.
Registration for the event ends September 22. Discounts are available to those who register early.