Friday, March 30, 2012

Say, "I Do" on The Farm

High Point Farms is located near Chattanooga, Tennessee in the northwest corner of Georgia. This perfect setting has great appeal to young couples who want to marry in the great outdoors or on the family farm.

Photographers like photographing outside. Just imagine the bride in a pumpkin patch, in front of a red barn, or on the back of a wagon with a "just married" sign.

Saying "I do" on the farm is just one more way to supplement your farm income.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Want to Start a Farm Stay?

Minnesota has a new Farm Stay Manual available online. If you are interested in hosting guests overnight on your farm or ranch, this is a must read. Although the guide was written for Minnesota, it contains a sample business plan that could be adapted for Louisiana.

If you decide to start a farm stay, plan to attend our up-coming workshop on "Outdoor Enterprise Business Plan Development," scheduled for Wednesday, June 6 in Vidalia. Click here for details.

Once you have your farm stay in operation, be sure to join the Farm Stay U.S. network.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Farmers Market Nutrition Program

According to Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Strain, “The Farmers Market Nutrition Program helps our older residents purchase locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers markets and roadside stands. Not only does the program give them the ability to buy good, healthy, fresh food, it also supports our local farmers."

Coupons are available to eligible seniors and those who qualify receive a book of six $4-coupons ($24). To learn how to qualify, contact your local Council on Aging.

Farmers who wish to participate in this program must sign a “Farmer Participation Agreement.” Call the Louisiana Department of Ag and Forestry at 985-345-9483 to learn more.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What's in Season?

There are two easy ways to find out what fruits and vegetables are in season.
Click on the "now in season" tab on MarketMaker for a listing or click here to be re-directed to a guide on the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry website.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Does Your Farmers Market Have a Mission?

This is the time of year when communities begin considering whether or not to start their first farmers market. Before starting a farmers market ask yourself, "Why do we need one?" When you know what you are trying to achieve you can do a better job of making a plan to succeed.

Farmers Markets serve many purposes in community. I found this mission statement online from the Grafton Farmers Market.

Our Mission Statement:
•To provide fresh, local food directly from farmers to consumers.
•To help the local farming industry to remain healthy.
•To educate the community about healthy and sustainable living.
•To provide a social experience that builds community.

This is a great mission that encompasses the entire community.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Miss-Lou Rural Tourism Association, Join Today!

The Miss-Lou Rural Tourism Association serves parishes and counties along the Mississippi River and strives to provide those parishes and counties with educational programs targeted to agencies and organizations focusing on tourism-related issues and owners of tourism-related operations in the Miss-Lou region. The parishes and counties are:

• Louisiana – Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Franklin, Madison,
Point Coupee, Richland, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Tensas, Washington, WestCarroll and West Feliciana
• Mississippi – Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Copiah, Franklin, Hancock, Issaquena, Jefferson,
Lamar, Lincoln, Marion, Pearl River, Pike, Sharkey, Walthall, Warren and Wilkinson

A membership form can be found on their website.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ranch Sorting Competition


Sixth Annual Southwest Louisiana Horse Expo

In keeping with Louisiana Equine Council's goal to help educate and promote the equine industry, other professionals will be demonstrating techniques and skills useful to equestrians of all skill levels and disciplines. Some of the presenters include Susan Morris, two-time World Champion Extreme Cowboy competitor of Zachary, LA, who will be demonstrating the skills she used in winning the 2009 Extreme Cowboy Race.

Fran Hancock, a nationally recognized clinician with Reis Ranch Natural Horsemanship, will demonstrate how dressage is invaluable to all disciplines, but specifically to western riding. Judy Weisgerber with the La. Stock Horse Association will demonstrate an event called Ranch Pleasure. And Michael Radich, jumping instructor at the Stables of Le Bocage in Lake Charles, will show how you can safely teach your horse to jump—regardless of the discipline you ride.

There will be vendors as well. Equestrian clubs and organizations are encouraged to contact LEC, as booth space is free for them. SOAR Therapeutic Riding will host a Kids Korral. Children are invited to come and learn about horses and make “horsey” crafts for a small fee to benefit SOAR. On Sunday, Cowboy Church will start promptly at 8:30 a.m. Activities will conclude with the Colt Starting Finals in the afternoon.

Admission is $5.00 for adults. Children 10 or under get in free. You may join LEC at the Expo for free admission, or you may go to and “Join” by completing an application. The following hotels in Lake Charles have rooms blocked for the expo: Inn on the Bayou (337 474-5151) and the La Quinta (337 478-9889). Or you may wish to bring your camper and trailer and stay at the coliseum. Stalls are also available. Camper hookups are $25.00 and stalls are $15.00 per night. Shavings are not provided, but will be available for purchase.

WHEN: March 17th & 18th
WHERE: Burton Coliseum Outdoor Arena, Lake Charles, Louisiana
CONTACTS: An agenda is posted at, or call 337 794-9489 or 337 296-6819
Information provided by: Neely Heidorn PhD, Equine Specialist, LSU AgCenter, 225-578-5338 or
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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Geocaching Workshop Scheduled April 30th in Natchez, MS

 Geocaching is a new hobby that tourism officials are using to motivate tourists to travel to specific areas of interest.

The Miss-Lou Rural Tourism Association will host a workshop in Natchez, MS on April 30th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Natchez Grand Hotel.

Registration is free for members of the Miss-Lou Rural Tourism Association and only costs $35 for non-members.

Seating is limited, so call Rachel Carter, Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development, Mississippi State University at 662-325-1619 or e-mail her at
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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Forest Lands Offer Great Opportunities for Scavenger Hunts

Forest lands are a perfect place to host a scavenger hunt. Include this as part of the agritourism experience at your farm. To begin:
-Create a list of items participants can scavenge for.
-Group participants in groups and assign an adult to each group.
-Give each participant a copy of the list.
-Suggestions for list: feathers, leaves of various colors, seeds or cones, flowers. If children have access to a camera include animal burrows or dens, live animals spotted, birds, animal scat (poop).
-Give a time limit for the hunt. (15-30 minutes)
-Have everyone meet back at a pre-determined site.
-Give every participant an opportunity to share what they found.
-Allow participants to tell their stories about how they retreived or found items.

This is a great way to get children involved in nature and seeing the wonderful resources that are part of agricultural lands.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Auburn University Creates a Nature Park

Auburn University wants to help children get back to nature. No more visible slides or money bars, they are hidden in nature. They are disguised as an eagle's nest, tree house, beaver lodge, mole tunnel, sandpit, teepee, boulders, and logs.

Jennifer Lolley, administrator of the Forest Ecology Preserve where the playground is located, says, "She hopes that it will become a 'conduit' for families to explore the great outdoors. The playground represents an effort to combat "Nature Deficit Disorder" in an era where children ages 8 to 12 spend nearly 7.5 hours per day in front of a screen."

This is a great idea for our agritourism operations on our farms. Click here to learn more.