Monday, September 30, 2013

Corn Boxes

The National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety is DISCOURAGING the use of "corn boxes and "corn cribs," in agritourism operations.  Some of the reasons include: choking, snuffing up a child's nose which leads to swelling. Some children are even allergic to corn.
There have also been several instances when children who have played in corn bins have suffocated when the corn collapsed on them. Although most of our operations do not use that depth of corn, children oftentimes, can't distinguish the depth. So, it's better to avoid the situation altogether.
As agritourism operators our goal in Louisiana is to keep it safe. For more information on these issues contact Marsha Salzwedel at the National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety.




Monday, September 23, 2013

WesMar Farms Highlighted on Film

Recently owners, Wes and Marguerite Constantine, of WesMar Farms,  a goat dairy, in  Moreauville, LA,  were featured on Farm Bureau's  This Week in Louisiana Agriculture.  Watch as Reporter Avery Davidson helps with farm chores at the dairy.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Yellow Rails and Rice Festival in Jennings

The Yellow Rails and Rice Festival is celebrating it's fifth year in 2013.  Festival goers must pre-register for the festival which begins on October 23 and ends on the 27th.

Those who attend can expect to visit rice fields,  explore nearby birding areas, join trips to local points of interest, or venture even  farther along the Cameron Parish coast.

For more details click on their website.

This is one of Louisiana's best agritourism festivals celebrating rice, birds and nature.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference, October 17, 2013

You are invited to attend the 2013 Northeast Louisiana

Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference

Thursday October 17, 2013

9:00 am to 3:00 pm

Scott Center, Macon Ridge Research Station, Winnsboro, LA

Registration Fee:        $10

For More Information or to Pre-Register, Contact:

Mavis Finger at



9:00 A.M.
Registration and Coffee
Welcome and Introductions
Food Safety Modernization Act
Soil Testing
Growing Organic
Selling Locally
Market Maker
Opportunities for Growers
Master Gardener Program
La Sweet Potato Industry Update and Wrap Up of Morning Session
12:30 P.M.
Tour of Sweet Potato Research Station
Wrap Up


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fall Fire Ant Control

Agritourism operators each year face the pesky fire ant. Apply fire ant baits in the fall to minimize fire ant problems. eXtension contributor Extension Specialist Molly Keck of Texas A&M  AgriLife has a video that explains how. Click here to watch the recording of the September 4, 2013 webinar, "Fall-A Good Time to Control Fire Ants with Bait." Click on "watch recording" in upper right.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Bird Watching Included as Activity in Agritourism Limited Liability Law

Bird  watching is an approved activity under the agritourism limited liability law and many farmers around Jennings and in Cameron Parish are participating in the Yellow Rails and Rice Festival beginning in October. This is the festivals fifth year of operation and it continues to thrive.

This newly revised brochure,  Birders Guide to Louisiana, is a free download you can use to plan your birding adventures on your agricultural lands.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

DixieMaze Farm in Shreveport, LA


Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to Mike Billings of DixieMaze Farm in Shreveport, LA. Mike told me that in fifteen years the operation had expanded to provide more than just a corn maze. As you can see from this aerial photo, his operation includes: pony rides, duck races, cow train , hayride, corn bin and a zombie paintball area.

Click here to see his website for information on location, attractions, fees and parking.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Create a Trail -- Muscadine Wine Trail

What a great idea to use a commodity to move people around the state. The Muscadine Wine Trail in North Carolina promotes the entire region and suggests other stops along with way. It shares information on history, culture and family in a unique way that tells a story about the region.

To add to the experience, allow guests to help make the wine; film them and upload to You-Tube or send to their Facebook page. This might appeal to some audiences who enjoy  social media.

While a muscadine wine trail is a good idea, this could be used with any commodity. To learn more about the trail, its goals and how it works, click here.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tell A Story To Draw Tourists

Ted Eubanks, one of the keynotes for the recently held National Extension Tourism Conference, encouraged people to tell stories about a destination. He said that people will travel for the story. He encouraged use of travel stories to foster, shape and direct tourism information.

He suggested determining what is important where you live by asking yourself the following questions.  Is it placed well?  Is it real? Does it benefit locals? Is it intriguing? Is it experiential rather than price driven? Is it sustainable?  His complete presentation is available on his website under the National Extension Tourism article.
We have lots of stories in Louisiana about our people, food and places.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Arts and Eats Tour in Michigan

Back road art, food and farm tours are receiving lots of attention in Michigan. The Arts and Eats Tour began as a means to raise awareness and appreciation for the region’s natural resources, rural areas, land, forests, and villages/towns. Their goal is to educate people about the benefits of purchasing locally grown foods; supporting local artists; and learning the connections between restaurants, farmers and local foods.

This is a great idea for us in Louisiana; we could lure the urban visitor to the countryside to take advantage of learning about food, fiber and art.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Farm To Table Events in Colorado

In Colorado, Rock Bottom Ranch is experimenting with agritourism by offering meals that come straight from the land. The agricultural nonprofit, Rock Bottom Ranch, owned and operated by the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies hosted two farm-to-table dinners this summer with a third booked for September.

Farmer, chef and ranch manager Jason Smith believes this type of activity is a way to connect people with locally grown, farm fresh foods from the area. Tours of the farm give insight into where the food on the table originates from and the work that goes into those products.  

 How much will people pay? Smith kept the menu a secret for the first two dinners and charged $75 for the first and $90 for the second; he has not set the price of the third. The first two dinners sold out within days.
What a great idea!