Agritourism: OSU offers farmers a ‘how-to’ summit

CORVALLIS — Oregon farmers increasingly are seeking to diversify their income to remain profitable and some are turning to a strategy that has been successful in Europe — agritourism.

To help these farmers, Oregon State University is holding its inaugural Oregon Agritourism Summit, set for Nov. 30 on campus. Registration is now open for the event.

Organizers say the conference aims to inspire farmers and ranchers to diversify their income by inviting visitors to their operations. These revenue-generating agritourism opportunities include overnight stays, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, U-pick fruits and vegetables, horseback riding and hay rides.

The summit is organized by the OSU Extension Service and is open to the public.

The idea for it emerged from a partnership between Melissa Fery, a small farms instructor for OSU Extension, and Scottie Jones, owner of Leaping Lamb Farmstay in Alsea.

“Scottie and I were working together and we realized that Oregon has not had a collaborative effort to help agritourism business owners get the information they need and to bring all the partners together to address some of the barriers that face agritourism businesses,” Fery said.

Sessions will address topics that include:

n agritourism options

n marketing

n regulations

n liability

n challenges/ solutions

n policy changes

Speakers will include Bob Crouse with Fort Vannoy Farms of Grants Pass and Clackamas County Commissioner Jim Bernard.

The cost, which includes lunch, is $25 per person. Register by Nov. 26 at http://bit.ly/WAYk14 or call 541-766-3556. The conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the LaSells Stewart Center on campus.

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