Agritourism experts to share industry information

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Representatives of Virginia’s leading agricultural organizations will share industry tips and resources during the Virginia Agritourism Conference at the Smithfield Center March 30 through April 1.

Virginia is home to popular agritourism attractions like creameries, wineries, pick-your-own farms, corn mazes and pumpkin patches. Conference speakers and topics will provide insight on developing new and marketing existing agritourism operations.

Tours in Isle of Wight, Southampton, Surry and Sussex counties will be offered on March 30. The conference portion of the event will begin March 31 with remarks from Dr. Jewel Bronaugh, Virginia commissioner of agriculture.

Dr. Dixie Dalton, dean of humanities, social sciences and business at Southside Virginia Community College, will lead an agritourism panel discussion. Other speakers include representatives from Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom, Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, Virginia Tech and the Virginia Tourism Corporation.

Panel discussions will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on April 1. Julia Clark, executive director of the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture, Innovation and Rural Sustainability, will moderate a discussion for beginning agritourism professionals who want to build business plans.

Additionally, Scott DeNoon, farm product and underwriting manager for Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co., will share information on agritourism safety and insurance. VFBF Assistant Director of Governmental Relations Stefanie Kitchen will serve on a farm transition panel.

The conference is sponsored by Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, Virginia Association of Counties, Virginia Tourism Corporation, Virginia State University and VSU’s Small Farm Outreach Program, VA FAIRS, Virginia Tech, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom, Franklin Southampton VA Tourism, Natural Capital Investment Fund, Virginia Cooperative Extension and Farm Credit.

For more details and to register, visit bit.ly/2P3ptJt.


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