Thursday, March 28, 2013

Happy Easter!

I hope that each of you enjoy your Easter holiday!  I plan to be off-line for a week but when I return, I will share lots of new ideas for the spring.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Latest Edition of Louisiana Agritourism Now Available Online

The April edition of the Louisiana Agritourism is now available online. Click here for your copy. This edition is filled with helpful information on how to garden for profit.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Documentary on Bayou Bartholomew

Joe Cooper Rolfe, a member of the Nature-Based Tourism Advisory, in northeast Louisiana shared this wonderful documentary about Bayou Bartholomew. Click here to access. Joe is one of the featured speakers.

The story of the bayou is brillantly told and this video is a true work of art. "Bayou Bartholomew" is sponsored by the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Watch and you will see why the people of northeast Louisiana have created a paddling guide. Click on the link, select "Morehouse Parish" and the link to the  paddling guide is on the right of the screen.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Agritourism and Ecotourism

After seven months of planning, co-worker Twyla Herrington and myself just completed our first "Coastal Ecotourism Workshop." It was a huge success with 44 persons in attendance. Our host, Stella Plantation Director Chalyn Perez, allowed us to use the plantation to show the many possibilities for ecotourism and agritourism.

The  one-day workshop provided current and prospective businesses with information on supplemental income opportunities from natural resource tourism. Targeted participants included coastal landowners, farmers, charter and guide fishermen, marina owners and swamp tour operators.

With more and more people headed outdoors for enjoyment, Louisiana has an opportunity to grow ecotourism and agritourism. For a report of the workshop, click here. At this link is also an interview with Chalyn Perez.

Shown above is Daryl Jones, Director of Mississippi State Natural Resource Enterprise Program.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Use Land Assets for Tourism

Plan to make money this summer by using your land assets for tourism. If you are an agricultural landowner, consider choosing operations covered by the 2008 agritourism limited liability law. A copy of the law and an explanation of the law can be found at

Starting a summer business in agritourism is a great way to teach children the “ABC’s” of starting a small business. Keep the investment small and engage family members to be employees of the enterprise and to share in the profits.

If you need start-up money, consider self-financing or  contact your Farm Service Agency about applying for a loan. In January of 2013, USDA announced microloans for qualifying operations. These loans are repayable at a rate of 1.25 percent monthly with a maximum loan amount of $35,000.

For those who qualify, the loan can help begin or enhance an existing operation.  The loan application process has been shortened with a more simplified application when compared with traditional farm loans.

According to a recent news article released by USDA, these loans can be used for start-up expenses such as hoop houses to extend the growing season, essential tools, irrigation, delivery vehicles, and annual expenses such as seed fertilizer, utilities, land rents, marketing and distribution expenses.