Study: Agritourism impact on Shenandoah Valley economy

Fresh data from an economic impact study titled The Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Agritourism in Virginia indicates that businesses along the Shenandoah Valley’s Fields of Gold Farm Trail contribute significantly to the region’s economy.

The study, which reviewed the agritourism industry across the Commonwealth of Virginia, was conducted by Dr. Vince Magnini with the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business and released in April. It shows that the Shenandoah Valley has the third highest number of venues in the state at 237(including places like farm-based vineyards, breweries, and distilleries).

Over 735,000 local visitors and 533,000 non-local visitors came to agritourism sites in the valley in 2015, spending a total of $255.8 million, with an overall revenue of nearly $363 million. $22.6 million was contributed to state and local taxes.

According to the study, Virginia’s agritourism industry overall accounts for $2.2 billion in economic activity. The report also shows that the economic activity attributed to the Commonwealth’s 1,400 agritourism businesses supports 22,000 jobs, generates $840 million in income, and injects $135 million in state and local taxes. The study is the first statewide benchmark report to measure the economic and fiscal impacts of Virginia’s agritourism sector.

Augusta County and Rockingham County were two of four counties that contributed as financial partners in the study. Augusta and Rockingham are the top two ag-producing counties in the state, and are among two of thirteen localities that are part of the Fields of Gold program. Staff from the counties and the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission (CSPDC) served on the State Agritourism Study Committee.  The study was also funded by The Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund through the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), and coordinated by Virginia Cooperative Extension.

The Fields of Gold Farm Trail was initiated in 2012 to promote the region’s farms and their products. It currently covers eight counties and five cities, and has 230 participating farm-related businesses, which the study shows have substantial economic impact in the region. Fields of Gold is coordinated by the CSPDC, and supports the start-up and growth of these ag-related businesses through comprehensive market planning, educational workshops, and business support services.

For the visitor interested in learning about or participating in local agriculture, the Fields of Gold website is a one-stop resource for trip planning that includes on- and off-farm features and activities to explore, as well as social media and newsletter options for keeping up with various aspects of the region’s agritourism industry.

augusta free press
augusta free press news

UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Buy here.

AFP Business

As professional consultants, Augusta Free Press LLC provides clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia and beyond with marketing and PR solutions including website design, SEO, TV/radio, video work, branding and logos, social media and overall marketing campaign design and implementation. Augusta Free Press LLC was founded in 2002.

Web Design

Augusta Free Press has designed more than 800 websites for clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia. We take care of all facets of web design – visual design, layout design, content development and SEO. Short on staff? We’ll work with you to update your AFP-designed website in a timely manner or train your staff to make changes.

Marketing/Social Media Management

Augusta Free Press manages advertising campaigns for small- and medium-sized businesses across Virginia. You don’t need to hire a full-time marketing coordinator. Bring the experience of the Augusta Free Press team to work for you – for a fraction of the cost.

Graphic Design

Augusta Free Press will help you take your vision to the next level. From branding and logos to print materials, our team will work with you to develop products to showcase your business. From brochures and rack cards to full-color magazines or print/digital ads, we’ve got you covered.

Event Planning/Fundraising

Augusta Free Press will help you plan the best event for your organization. From an open house or anniversary to a 5K or Pay Per View, we can handle it all. Looking for training for your sales staff? We can help energize your employees or board. Need ideas to raise more money? Let us help you plan a successful event. Want to hold a news conference or need help with a press release? We can do that too.

Click here for more.