W.Va. agritourism workshop scheduled during 2013 small farm conference

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) will sponsor an all-day Agritourism Workshop Feb. 28, as part of the WVU Extension Service’s Small Farm Conference, which will be held at the Waterfront Hotel in Morgantown Feb. 27- March 2.
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Walt Helmick noted that agritourism can provide financial benefits to farms and educational opportunities to the public.

Networking opportunity

“Agritourism can have a direct impact on our state’s rural communities and economies,” said Helmick.
“Our agriculture businesses can demonstrate what farming is all about, while at the same time improving their bottom lines.”
Featured speakers include:
• Mark Lewis, president and CEO of the Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, will address marketing, promotions and sponsorships while emphasizing the importance of partnerships in agriculture and tourism collaborations.
• West Virginia Tourism Commissioner Dave Arnold, managing director of Class VI River Runners, will talk about the needs and expectations of today’s traveler, keeping the agritourism experience in mind.
• Ohio State University Extension Educator Eric Barrett will discuss emergency planning on the farm and within agritourism operations. He will also present his newly developed toolkit that he unveiled at the recent national agritourism conference in Oregon.
• Dr. Dee Singh-Knights, assistant professor at WVU, will delve into the financial and planning functions needed for starting, expanding and maintaining agritourism.

Details

Technical assistance with planning and business development will also be a focus of the day-long program. The cost of the workshop is $70 and includes breakfast and lunch. Lunch will feature the annual West Virginia agritourism media awards.
For registration information and a full agenda, visit http://smallfarmcenter.ext.wvu.edu/conference or call Carrie See at 304-293-2715 or email her at carrie.see@mail.wvu.edu.

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