Monday, December 15, 2014

NAFDMA Tour Stop Seven


During the NAFDMA Conference participants will board buses and travel to agritourism destinations. There are seven farm stops planned. Choose the bus number that has the stops you prefer.

One of seven of the stops is described below




Honeysuckle Hill Farm www.honeysucklehillfarm.com Honeysuckle Hill Farm takes great pride in the role they play as a wholesome family entertainment destination. They give farm tours to about 15,000 school children and entertains weekend guests with their exciting and unforgettable fall experience. The Farm offers plenty of outdoor recreational activities and seasonal attractions all year long. During autumn, they feature haunted attractions at night and plenty of activities involving pumpkins during the day! Guests can learn more about how daily life works on a farm, and enjoy various outdoor games and activities. Visitors looking for a more physical experience can check out their zip lines, a massive seven-acre corn maze, a new Bungee Trampoline, 30ft Rock Wall, and 2 large jumping pillows. Honeysuckle Hill Farm has an abundance of animal exhibits, including a petting farm and competitive farm animal racing: the ever popular Hillbilly Pig Races.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

NAFDMA Tour Stop Six

During the NAFDMA Conference participants will board buses and travel to agritourism destinations. There are seven farm stops planned. Choose the bus number that has the stops you prefer.

One of seven of the stops is described below













Lucky Ladd Farms www.luckyladdfarms.com
In 2007, the Ladds began inviting local schools and church groups out to their home in the country giving them the opportunity to see and pet the animals on the farm. In 2008, they opened Lucky Ladd Farms, and they now have over 60 acres of excitement including Tennessee’s largest petting farm, farm themed playgrounds, mega slides, wagon rides, pedal karts, tire climbs and our popular corn maze and pumpkin patch. The Ladds also provide fun and interactive educational adventures allowing students to explore their natural world with an emphasis on agriculture. They hope to continue to provide an affordable entertainment destination in Tennessee and are working hard to grow their operation by adding new attractions and improving their existing ones so that every guest gets a new and unique experience year after year.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

NAFDMA Tour Stop Five

During the NAFDMA Conference participants will board buses and travel to agritourism destinations. There are seven farm stops planned. Choose the bus number that has the stops you prefer.

One of seven of the stops is described below


Green Door Gourmet  http://www.greendoorgourmet.com/
Green Door Gourmet is a unique farm to fork venture that produces and provides local artisan foods and plants in a farm-cooperative community setting.  Hidden Valley Farm also serves as the perfect spot for agritourism and special farm events ranging from small picnics and weddings to an outdoor BBQ for 1000 people. The on-farm market is a true culinary cooperative where visitors can learn about food and get great products from the local area, the region and across the country.  They support work-trade, host field trips, have cutting gardens and a flower program. They are a multi-faceted agritourism, agritainment, and working farm business.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

NAFDMA Tour Stop Four

During the NAFDMA Conference participants will board buses and travel to agritourism destinations. There are seven farm stops planned. Choose the bus number that has the stops you prefer.

One of seven of the stops is described below


Grandaddy’s Farm www.grandaddysfarm.com
Starting with great-grandfather Charles Dixon, the Dixon family has been farming at this location since May 1951. They continue to row crop throughout the year while producing all of the fruits and vegetables that are sold on their farm.  Nine years ago, this traditional farming family decided to open their doors to the world of agritourism. Today, visitors not only come to buy their Fall produce and decorations for their home, but they can also enjoy a variety of activities such as the 5 acre corn maze, the 150ft. Landslide, Hilltop Hopper, Hillbilly Downs’ bouncy ponies, pig and duck races, tire mountain, and a variety of farm animals. They also host a Hillbilly 5k on opening weekend in September, support Breast Cancer Awareness with their pink pumpkins in October, and close out their season the first week in November with their Pumpkin Demolition.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

NAFDMA Tour Stop Three

During the NAFDMA Conference participants will board buses and travel to agritourism destinations. There are seven farm stops planned. Choose the bus number that has the stops you prefer.

One of seven of the stops is described below.

Gentry’s Farm www.gentryfarm.com
This seventh generation historic working farm has been owned by the Gentry family for over 165 years. In recent years they have diversified their farming efforts to include pick-your-own pumpkins and growing hay as well as raising beef cattle. They also rent some of the nearly 400 acres to farmers who own combines and row crop winter wheat, corn, and soybeans. Their main focus is to offer educational programs for school groups in the fall and the spring, and they also offer a down-to-earth fun summer day camp. Gentry’s Farm is a past recipient of the “Conservation Farm of the Year” for Williamson County for their efforts in stream mitigation and wildlife conservation easements.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

NAFDMA Tour Stop Two

During the NAFDMA Conference participants will board buses and travel to agritourism destinations. There are seven farm stops planned. Choose the bus number that has the stops you prefer.

One of seven of the stops is described below.




Oakes Farm www.oakesfarm.com
The Oakes Family has been involved in farming for three generations in the Corryton community. After years of growing tobacco and raising beef cattle, the Oakes began growing daylilies, a hobby which has grown into a nationwide mail-order nursery, Oakes Daylilies. The Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch at Oakes Farm is a joint venture for Ken Oakes and David Black, University of Tennessee graduates and brothers-in-law. Oakes Farm was the recipient of the 2001 “Farmer of the Year” award for Knox County. 2014 will be our 14th year producing a maze, and we look forward to another great year. Oakes Farm has been featured in many media stories, both regionally and nationally. The Trail of Doom, Knoxville’s largest and longest-running haunted attraction, features a haunted corn field, haunted woods, and many surprising elements

Monday, December 8, 2014

More About NAFDMA Tours

During the NAFDMA Conference participants will board buses and travel to agritourism destinations. There are seven farm stops planned. Choose the bus number that has the stops you prefer.

One of seven of the stops is described below.






he Apple Barn  www.applebarncidermill.com
The Apple Barn really is a barn that was originally built back in 1910. After a complete renovation in 1980, The Apple Barn gave new life to this business.  In The Apple Barn, you can browse a wide variety of handmade mountain crafts, food items, home decorations and collectables. And of course, apples and cider, from which it all began. You can head to The Cider Bar where you can sample the sippin’ cider hot or cold. The Apple Pie Kitchen, offers delicious treats like fried apple pies, apple doughnuts, and apple dumplins for eating there or taking home. The Candy Factory produces original sweets, including old-timey favorites, handmade on century-old equipment, and The Creamery offers up delicious homemade ice cream. Have a bite in either The Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant or The Applewood Farmhouse Grill and be sure to stop into The Apple Barn Winery which specializes in delightful apple and fruit wines.

to see a video click here.


To qualify for the early registration rate, please be sure payment is postmarked by December 15th.

Monday, December 1, 2014

NAFDMA Opens Registration for Conference in February in TN

The North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association  (NAFDMA) advances the prosperity of its members and the farm direct marketing industry through networking, participation, education, and innovation.

They will celebrate 30 years in Tennessee this year on February 1-6, 2015 at their annual conference. By registering before December 15th you can save $200. Click here for the details.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Dealing with Complaints on Social Media

Megan Bruch Leffew, Marketing Specialist, Center for Profitable Agriculture at the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture, has recently authored an excellent fact sheet onHow to Handle Complaints and Poor Reviews on Social Media: Direct Marketing Tips for Specialty Crop Growers.”  It’s worth a read if you are engaging your audience through social media. Click here to read more. Learn how you can effectively deal with complaints  on social media.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

MS Agritourism Assocation Meeting

Our friends in Mississippi are hosting their annual agritourism association meeting on November 17-18, 2014 in Natchez, MS and they have invited us to come.  The agenda looks great, see below:

Monday, November 17, 2014
12:30- Registration
1:00- Pamela Bartholemew: Organizing a Media Day for your Agritourism Enterprise
2:45- Break
3:00- Kathy Wise: Coming back to the farm
4:00- MAA Meeting
6:00- Welcome to Natchez Meet and Greet at the Natchez Welcome Center

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
8:00- Jan Miller: Retail and Merchandising Crash Course
9:00- Pamela Bartholemew: Hosting a Farm to table dinner as a Profit making & Showcase event
10:00- Break
10:15- Jan Holley: Hosting a wedding on the farm
11:00- Paige Hunt: Marketing and Advertising for your Farm
12:00- Close

To register complete the following: 

Name and Title: _______________________________________________________________
Organization or Farm: _________________________________________________________
Address: _____________________________________________________________________
City: _________________________________________ State: __________ Zip: __________
Email: ___________________________________ Phone: _____________________________

Registration Fee $50

Make Check Payable to:
Mississippi Agritourism Association
Send Check Care of
Jo Lynn Mitchell
650 Leaf River Church Road
Collins, Mississippi 39428
Phone: (601) 606-0762
Email: jolynn.mitchell@yahoo.com

For lodging:
Accommodations Natchez Grand Hotel
Telephone: (601) 446-9994
Single $109; Double $109

Monday, October 27, 2014

Join us in Hammond for the Agritourism Workshop on October 30th

This one-day workshop will provide landowners, agritourism operators and tourism officials with information on how to start, grow and market a tourism venture on agricultural lands. Experts in the field will share their success stories. See brochure for registration information. 

Registration fees are  $20 for individual and $25 per couple day of workshop.

Registration is from 8-8:30 a.m.

Meeting site: 21549 Old Covington Hwy. Hammond, LA


Morning Agenda

Registration from 8-8:30 A.M.
Welcome
Agritourism-A Growing Industry
If You Build It, Will They Come?
Louisiana Agritourism Limited Liability Law
Becoming a Certified Agritourism Operator
Marketing Your Agritourism Business
Using Social Media To Grow Your Business
Tapping into MarketMaker
Agritourism Success Story

Afternoon Farm Tour

Mrs. Heather’s Pumpkin Patch,
31458 Hwy. 43, Albany
3:00 P.M. Wrap-up and Dismiss

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Restoration Agriculture Workshop Nov. 14-16

Mark Shepard, author of Restoration Agriculture, and owner of a 106 acre perennial agriculture forest will conduct a three day class at Mahaffey Farms in Princeton. Mahaffey Farms is small family farm that uses sustainable methods to produce clean local food. The farm is located at 440 Mahaffey Road in Princeton. Call the farm at (318)-518-0558 or visit them online at www. MahaffeyFarms.com

To learn more about the workshop, log onto:  www.RestorationAgLouisiana.Eventbrite.com   


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New American Farmer, Second Edition

Profiles of Agricultural Innovation: showcasing sustainable farming on over 60 farms and ranches. 

The New American Farmer
 
                                                                Download for FREE




Friday, October 17, 2014

USDA Expands Access to Credit to Help More Beginning and Family Farmers

WASHINGTON, October, 2014 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will improve farm loans by expanding eligibility and increasing lending limits to help more beginning and family farmers. As part of this effort, USDA is raising the borrowing limit for the microloan program from $35,000 to $50,000; simplify the lending processes; updating required “farming experience” to include other valuable experiences; and expanding eligible business entities to reflect changes in the way family farms are owned and operated. The changes become effective Nov. 7.  To read more click here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Workshop in Oak Grove on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014

This one-day tri-state workshop is designed to show landowners how to earn additional income from their farm or ag land, recreational property or timberland. Experts will talk about revenue potential, conservation ecosystem enhancements, liability issues, agritourism, Farm Bill opportunities and carbon payments. See brochure for registration information or arrive at 8 a.m. and register on the spot. Click here for the complete  agenda or read below. Cost is $25 per person or $30 per couple and includes lunch, snacks and hand-out materials.

Bayou Bartholomew Outdoor Business Workshop for Landowners
Thomas Jason Lingo Community Center
10284 Hwy. 17, Oak Grove, LA
October 16, 2014
8am to 3:30 pm



 8:00 a.m.​   ​Registration and Coffee/Continental Breakfast

 8:30 a.m. ​      ​Welcome and Introductions
​​​Bruce Garner and Dora Ann Hatch - LSU AgCenter

 8:45 a.m.​​Landowner and Outfitter Testimonial
​​​Lannie Philley, Delta Land & Farm Management

 9:10 a.m.                   Recreational Enterprise Potential on your Land
Daryl Jones - NRE Program, Mississippi State University

 9:30 a.m.​​Bayou Bartholomew Alliance – Conservation Update
Dr. Curtis Merrell, Bill Layher, or Scott Donaldson

 9:45 a.m.​​Boeuf-Tensas Ecosystem Enhancement/Water Transfer Project

10:00 a.m.​      ​Landowner Liability and Legal Considerations for NRE Operations
​​​Mike Massey – Massey, Higginbotham, Vise & Phillips, P.A.

11:00 a.m.​​Break

11:10 a.m.               ​Farm Bill Update and Opportunities
​​​Tim Landreneau – Louisiana Natural Resources Conservation Service
​​​Dave Long – Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

11:50 a.m.​​Agritourism Opportunities on your Land
​​​Dora Ann Hatch – LSU AgCenter

12:15 p.m.​​Lunch

​​​
                                                                       Afternoon Topics:​

Carbon Payments for Landowners
                                      Andy Johnson - Green Trees, LLC​

Stream Conservation
Land Management and Outdoor Recreational Opportunties

 3:30 p.m.​​Wrap-up

Call Dora Ann for more details: (318) 927-9654 x 229 or e-mail her: dhatch@agcenter.lsu.edu








     

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Birding--It's fun!

This week during a meeting on nature-based tourism, our group got to take a two hour guided birding trip.  The guide shown on the right pointed out the birds and we each looked through binoculars to see the field markings of the birds. Listening to their sounds was fun too.

We walked two miles and witnessed lots of nature.  She metnioned to us that there are numerous field guides that one can carry into the woods to use to identify birds and that there are now phone apps too.

Landowners with wooded areas might want to consider earning supplemental income by offering birding trips. While advanced birders might be looking for special and rare birds most of us are novices and would enjoy seeing and identifying any bird.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Eckert's Tips on Making Good Events Great

Jane Eckert, a national speaker, author and agritourism expert, is principal of Eckert AgriMarketing (www.eckertagrimarketing.com), a firm that helps farmers sell products directly to consumers and develop their operations into tourist destinations authored an article entitled, "Making the Good Event--Great". The article has lots of tips that are useful to all agritourism business owners. Read the entire article by clicking here


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Teddy's Bearfest in Tallulah


Beekeepers and Farmers

Pollination services provided by honeybees are important for producers of vegetables, fruit, nuts, flowers, grasses and other plants that feed wildlife, livestock and people.
According to the 2013 Louisiana Summary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, in 2013 an estimated 325 beekeepers produced 1.8 million pounds of honey. That’s up from 322 beekeepers who produced 1.5 million pounds in 2012. The number of hives during that period also increased from 21,443 to 22,628. 

The total value of honey production for 2013 was $4.3 million, up from $3.7 million in 2012.    

Monday, September 15, 2014

Stone Barns Using Apps to Navigate Visitors

Reprinted from Stone Barns website:
“In the spirit of blending agricultural tradition and modern innovation, explore the farm with the interactive, family-friendly Stone Barns Center app.

Take a self-guided tour, independently explore, play a farm-trivia game, share recipes with friends and more! The Stone Barns app is filled with dynamic updates--text, photos and audio--straight from farmers and staff. Use the map to see where the animals are located and learn about each of our breeds. Get up-to-date information about what's growing and going on at the Center.

Click here to downlaod the app form the iTunes store.”

Saturday, September 13, 2014

September Edition of Louisiana Agritourism Connection Now Available online

The Louisiana Agritourism Connection September 2014  a quarterly e-newsletter providing information on how to start, grow or sustain your agritourism venture is now available on the LSU AgCenter's Agritourism website. This edition includes information on  the agritourism limited liability law, workshops around the state and information on the newly revised cottage industry law.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Why do people travel to rural areas?

Why are people traveling to rural places?

70% enjoy dining
58% enjoy shopping 
44% enjoy water activities
41% enjoy visiting historical sites
32% enjoy fishing/hunting/boating
29% enjoy attended fairs and festivals
24% enjoy bike riding and hiking
23% enjoy religious service
21% enjoy camping
18% enjoy sporting events
15% enjoy visiting a winery, farm or orchard

Source:  2001 Rural Tourism Travel Poll conducted by TIAA.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Changes to Louisiana's Cottage Food Law Can Increase Opportunities for Agritourism Operators

Louisiana’s cottage food law Act 542 was amended by House Bill 1270 in the regular session of the Louisiana Legislature in 2014. It allows “low-risk foods” to be sold. Those foods include all of the following, none of which
shall consist of any animal muscle protein or fish protein: baked goods (breads, cakes, cookies, and pies); candies, dried mixes; honey and honeycomb products; jams, jellies and preserves; pickles and acidified foods; sauces and syrups; and spices.

A label must be affixed to the food products that clearly states that the food was not produced in a licensed or regulated facility.  No person can sell food unless they have applied for or have been issued all of the following: (a) a Louisiana General Sales Tax Certificate from the Louisiana Department of Revenue and (b) a local sales tax certificate from the local taxing authority of any jurisdiction in which the seller intends to sell foods. The sales limit has increased to $20,000.

These are just a few of the rules; read the entire law to learn more. To read the new law, click here.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Get Inspiration from Other Agritourism Operations

A Glimpse of Rock Ranch in Georgia

Sadly, S. Truett Cathy died on Monday, September 8, 2014 at age 93.

The Rock Ranch in Georgia is a great example of agritourism.  The 1,500 acre ranch owned by the founder Chick-fil-A®, S. Truett Cathy was started as a Brangus cattle operation and in 1994; Mr. Cathy began offering tours to school groups and church groups; and hosting corporate and private events on the ranch. 

All the activities on the ranch must meet Mr. Cathy’s personal goals for the ranch by “Uniting families with the land and each other” and “Growing Healthy Families.” Mr. Cathy and his manager, Jeff Manley, use the rural setting of the ranch and its natural resources to help children understand values.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to the ranch with other agritourism professionals and meet Mr. Cathy and Mr. Manley. The ranch is ideally located one hour from Atlanta and Columbus, and 40 minutes from Macon.  They have an excellent website that gives an overview of the ranch and provides information on group tours and other activities at the ranch. Please visit www.therockranch.com for more details.

So, why are they such a great example? They have taken their assets and built on them. When we toured we asked how much of their cash flow for new activities came from the founder of Chick-fil-A®. Manley explained that his job was to make the agritourism operation self-sustaining and that he had the same struggles of other agritourism operations in the region.  Each year they add or change something to keep their operation fresh and new for visitors.

The lay out of the ranch allows for several field trips to take place simultaneously offering different themes and providing the opportunity to host different age groups. While every agritourism operation will not have that opportunity, the way they structure their field trips can be duplicated.  They focus on the fall and spring primarily when they have the most happening on the ranch for field trips. In the summer they offer more play time in a ranch setting. There are also numerous opportunities to visit the ranch during other times, but those must be planned for in advance.

How often and when can you host groups of people on your farm or ranch will depend on your access to a labor supply. Guests want to talk with someone who herds cows, rides the tractor or picks the garden. That person is usually someone who works on the farm. They don’t have to have on pressed clothes; they need to look like they just stepped out of the cow pen.  Your tour guides are part of the experience.

At The Rock Ranch, tours are planned around some of the horticulture crops allowing guests to help harvest.  They offer six weeks of tours in the fall and spring and divide each week day into themes. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday the field trips include whatever flowers, vegetables and new born animals are on the farm. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, guests learn more about the ecology of the farm. Wildlife, worms, composting, trees and seed planting are just some of the subjects covered on those days.

In addition to group and school tours, they have dwellings located on the property they rent for overnight stays. Who would not want to wake up in such a beautiful place? They also have a rare collection of Conestoga wagons they use for overnight stays.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Interview with Beth Kennett of Liberty Hill Farm and Inn in Vermont

Liberty Hill Farm and Inn in Vermont has been in the agritourism business for over 30 years according to Beth Kennett who owns the farm along with husband Bob. They are the fifth family to own the farm since 1780. Talk about history!

Recently, I listened to Mary Peabody of the University of Vermont Extension  interview  Beth about her three decades of agritourism experiences.

They opened their doors in 1984 for a bed and breakfast experience which later transitioned into agritourism with overnight stays and opportunities to be on the farm and learn about agriculture. They have entertained guests from around the globe since day one.

According to Beth, people are interested in making a connection with where food comes from. Guests to the farm don't understand basic agriculture and as farmers we have an opportunity to provide them with an education.

She believes that 90-95% of her guests come to Liberty Hill because it is a working farm. Her marketing efforts include a great website and use of social media. Although Beth has attended many great extension educational programs on website design and social media, Beth believes that you should hire professionals to create a website and depend on yourself, family members or guests for social media. Beth, suggested people attend the extension workshops so that they can intelligently communicate with the professionals they hire for those services.

One other thought Beth shared, was that within a state or community that businesses need to work cooperatively. Simply explained, if you are out of rooms for lodging send the guest to someone nearby, send them to eat at a local restaurant, suggest they do activities in the area. Don't let them get out of town, keep the money here, work cooperatively with those surrounding you. She further added that her business began by locals suggesting people stop by her farm; since we did not have internet in the 1980's.

Beth estimates that 80% of her new guests find her online. She was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal and that article too is now online. So even printed articles, soon can be found online.

For the complete interview click on interview above.

Horticulture Events Planned


The LSU AgCenter and affiliated groups offer numerous educational opportunities for nursery and landscape professionals. Some educational programs having multi-state impact and attendance are also listed. Be sure to check with the contact person listed for more specific information on each event and confirm date, location, time prior to attending.

October 9, 2014

LSU AgCenter Landscape Horticulture Field Day
Hammond Research Station
Hammond, La.
Contact Allen Owings at aowings@agcenter.lsu.edu


October 16, 2014

New Orleans Horticulture Society Meeting
Garden Study Room at City Park Botanical Garden
New Orleans, La.
Contact Kevin Taylor at kevtaylor@cox.net


Friday, August 29, 2014

18th Annual Field Day at the USDA Honey Bee Lab in Baton Rouge Scheduled October 11, 2014

The USDA Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Laboratory and the Louisiana State Beekeepers Association will hold the 18th Annual Field Day on Saturday, October 11, 2014. The event will be held at the laboratory, located at 1157 Ben Hur Rd. This is near the intersection of Nicholson Drive (Hwy 30) and Brightside Dr., which is about two miles south of the LSU football stadium.

Gates will open at 9:30 a.m.; activities are scheduled from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  A nonrefundable pre-registration fee of $30.00 is required for attendees 12 years of age and above.  Children eleven and under, must stay with their parents at all times. You must pre-register by October 1, 2014. 

You may register on-line at labeekeepers.org and pay through PayPal or credit card or you may mail your registration form that is located on the labeekeepers.org web site and your check payable to the Louisiana Beekeepers Association to:  David Ferguson, P.O. Box 716, Brusly, LA 70719. If you do not pre-register by October 1, 2014, the cost will be $35.00 per person.

The registration fee covers expenses including coffee, pastries and a great-catered lunch that includes Bar B Q Chicken Leg Quarters, Smoked Sausage, Dirty Rice, Bar B Q Beans, and Garden Salad with choice of 4 Dressings, Fresh Baked Honey Wheat Rolls, Honey Bee Cake and Coke Products.

What you will learn: 
The Field Day will include courses for beginners and more experienced beekeepers as well as workshops for those interested in a variety of topics. The beginning beekeeper course will begin with how to get started for those who do not yet own bees, then will progress to how to manage a few colonies. Topics will include equipment needs for the beginner, nectar producing plants, maintenance of colonies, pests, safety and etiquette in beekeeping, and hands on training in an active colony. 

The intermediate beekeeping course was a hit last year and it will be offered again with a variety of topics focused on the beekeeper with a moderate amount of experience that is now ready to take it to the next level. Topics will include anticipating equipment needs throughout a season, pest management, honey processing, and swarm catching.

There will be a variety of focused workshops for those not attending the courses (typically the more advanced beekeepers), i.e., queen rearing, instrumental insemination, small hive beetle control, good honey plants and artificial nutrition sources. These workshops will represent both the USDA-ARS Bee Lab’s research and beekeeper experiences. At the end of the day, the intermediate and advanced groups will come together over active colonies. Here they will have the opportunity to discuss a variety of topics and ask laboratory personnel and experienced beekeepers questions while gaining some hands-on experience in an open hive.

For more information contact: Margaret Prell at (985-863-3641 or e-mail her at martp@bellsouth.net

Thursday, August 21, 2014

National Agritourism Professionals Association Accepting Charter Memberships

NAPA stands for National Agritourism Professionals Association and accepts membership dues from rural tourism supporters, policy and decision-makers, agritourism farmers and on-farm direct marketers. 

JOIN NAPA now to become a charter member. 
Dues are set for Charter members who join between September and December, 2014, at $40.00. Dues for 2015 will be $100.00 for January – December. By paying these dues, you are adding support to our zero-based budget!  Click here to join.

NAPA's mission is to provide resources, consultation and communication avenues fro agritourism venues in the U.S. and Canada.

To learn more contact:

 Martha Glass
National Agritourism Professionals Association
1-855-517-1617
108 Forest Hills Ct., Cary NC 27511

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Beef and Forage Field Day, Sept. 18 in Mangham

Beef and Forage Field Day will be held on Thursday, September 18, 2014 at Goldmine Plantation, 188 Cummins Road, Mangham, LA 71259, from 9:00 a.m.—Noon. 
Registration at 8:30 a.m. 
Lunch will be provided.

Topics covered will be:

 Pharmaceutical Best Management Practices
 Factors influencing calving problems
 Weed control demonstration
 Bull selection
 Impact of Ryegrass planting methods on production
 Replacement heifers: Buying or retaining from herd?

For more information contact Jim McCann at 318-649-2663, Keith Collins at 318-728-3216, Jason Holmes at 318-368-9935

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Minimizing Mosquitoes

All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series: Minimize Mosquito Problems

Late summer is prime time for mosquitoes and the time of year when West Nile usually peaks.  Learn how to protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes by reducing breeding sites, resting sites, and avoiding them altogether.  During this webinar we will cover the basics of mosquitoes, what they need to survive and how you can eliminate it, how mosquitoes spread disease, information on insect repellents, and tips on how to minimize mosquitoes in your backyard.  Presented by Molly Keck, Program Specialist - IPM, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Moderated by Chris Becker, Regional Extension Agent, Alabama Cooperative Extension System andAmanda Tedrow, County Extension Agent, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.  Clickhere to login as a guest and participate in the live event.  For more webinars in this series, see All Bugs Good and Bad 2014 Webinar Series. The webinars are brought to you by the followingeXtension Communities of Practice: Imported Fire AntsUrban IPMBee Health, and Invasive Species; and by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
Photo Credit: David Cappaert, Michigan State University, bugwood.org

The recording of the August 1 Minimizing Mosquito Webinar has been posted at: https://learn.extension.org/events/1373

Next month (September 5) we will hear a webinar about two invasive stinkbugs: the brown marmorated stinkbug and the kudzu bug.  See https://learn.extension.org/events/1379  for information, including links to promotional flyers.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Register for Online Data Bases

Online data bases have become popular. People can search on their phones, i-pads or computers wherever they are and whenever they have the time. If you are not listed they will not find you.

Below are some popular data bases to consider:


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Agritourism Workshop Planned for Hammond, LA on October 30, 2014

Join us at the LSU AgCenter's Hammond Research Station located at 21549 Old Covington Hwy., in Hammond   for an agritourism workshop on Thursday, October 30, 2014 from 8 am to 3 pm.

This one-day workshop will provide landowners, agritourism operators and tourism officials with information on how to start, grow and market a tourism venture on agricultural lands. Experts in the field will share their success stories. See brochure for registration information. Clik on agenda for more details.

Registration is $15 for an individual or $20 per couple prior to October 20th; same day registration available for $20 per individual or $25 per couple.

For more information contact: Sandra Benjamin or Dora Ann Hatch .

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

California Tourism and Agriculture Groups Join Forces to Promote Agritourism

A new  partnership has been announced  between California Grown, which promotes California Agriculture, and Visit California, which promotes tourism, to promote agritourism in the state.  Kudos to both groups!

Read more by clicking here.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Guide Available for Developing Business Plans for Farms and Rural Businesses


Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses is an excellent book for beginners or those who have been in business for years.

The book guides you through the process of building a business. For information on how you can obtain a copy, click here.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Plant Diagnostic Center at LSU AgCenter

The Plant Diagnostic Center is a one-stop shop for all your plant health problems. Services available through the center include plant disease diagnosis (biotic and abiotic causes), insect and mite diagnosis/identification (plant related only), nematode diagnosis/ identification and weed identification.

The staff of the Plant Diagnostic Center has the training and experience to help you solve your problems (at least those associated with your unhealthy plants). Before you submit a sample, however, we suggest you contact your local LSU AgCenter extension agent. Agents are familiar with many of the common plant problems that we encounter and can help evaluate the situation as well as collect and submit the appropriate samples.

Click here for a brochure on how to use the center.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bed and Breakfasts on Farms Offer Extra Income

Earning extra cash by offering overnight stays on your farm or ranch are quite popular. Guests do not expect luxury accommodations but do expect clean accommodations.  They also expect  to learn more about farming and ranching during their stay.

Allow guests to help with the chores and if possible pick fresh produce from your garden. Then take the experience inside and allow them to participate in the food preparation. Cooking what you have just picked will be a real thrill for those who normally buy off the grocery shelves.

If this idea appeals to you, consult the Small Business Development Center in your region for information on business licensing, business taxes, labor law requirements, environmental protection requirements and more.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Watermelon Festival Slated July 24-27 in Farmerville

Thursday, July 24th
7:00 am Treasure Hunt –Sponsored by Louisiana Lottery
Listen to Z107.5

6:00 pm Baby, Tiny, Little and Junior Miss Watermelon Pageant @ Union Parish HS Auditorium

7:00 pm Union Parish Voter’s League Banquet @ Farmerville Recreation Center

Friday, July 25th
7:00 am Treasure Hunt –Sponsored by Louisiana Lottery
Listen to Z107.5

5 pm-til Arts/Crafts/Food

5:00 pm Tennis Tournament @
Lake D’Arbonne State Park
318-368-2086

6:00 pm Festival Opening

6-8:00 pmWatermelon Story Time

6:30 pm Arm Wrestling Sign-up

7:00 pm Best dressed watermelon contest, Courthouse Square

8:00 pm Introduction Queens
Courthouse Square

8:00 pm Street Dance
Courthouse Square

Saturday, July 26th
6:30am Watermelon Festival 5K Registration
Edward Jones 318-368-9000

7:00 am Treasure Hunt –Sponsored by Louisiana Lottery
Listen to Z107.5

7:00 am Watermelon Growers
Breakfast

8:00 am Arts/Crafts/Food
Courthouse Square

8:00 am Golf Tournament
Lake D’Arbonne Country Club 318-368-2474

8:00 am Louisiana Motorcycle Melon Run, Courthouse Square Annex, lamelonrun.com

8:00 am Watermelon Quality Contest, LSU Extension Office, Rafash Brew 318-368-9935

9:00 am Watermelon Festival Parade, Main Street

10:00 am Watermelon Auction
Courthouse Square

10-2 pm Watermelon Story time

11:30am Tricycle and Bicycle Races
Courthouse Square

12:00pm Marion State Bank Watermelon eating contest
Courthouse Square

12:00pm Marion State Bank Watermelon seed spitting Courthouse Square

12:00 pm Introduction of Queens
Courthouse Square

7:00 pm Teen Princess, Outstanding Teen and Miss Watermelon Pageant @ UPHS Auditorium

8pm-7am D’arbonne Watermelon Fishing Tournament
Lake D’Arbonne, 318-368-0666, 318-235-1039

Sunday, July 27th 2pm–4pm Kayak Races, Ramp Rd

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Registration Open for Yellow Rails and Rice Festival in October


Thornwell, Louisiana, site of the Yellow Rails and Rice Festival, was named the "Yellow Rail Capital of the World by the Louisiana Legislature in April of 2013.

Registration is now open for the sixth annual festival which begins on October 29 and runs through November 2, 2014. 

Rice farmers and birders have worked on this event to make it an extraordinary experience for those who attend. The festival attracts people from all over the United States and across the world.

For more information on how to register, click here.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Southern Christmas Tree Association Meets in August

The Southern Christmas Tree Association's (SCTA) 2014 annual meeting will be August 1 - 3, 2014 at the Holiday Inn Birmingham-Homewood located at 492 Wildwood Circle North, Homewood, Alabama 35209 (I-65, Exit 255 Lakeshore Drive). Telephone 205.942.6070.  

The farm hosts are Paul and Carolyn Beavers of Beavers Tree Farm (www.BeaversChristmasTreeFarm.com) in Jefferson County near Trafford, Alabama (10093 Bradford Trafford Road, Trafford 35172; Telephone: 205.681.4494).  It is about a 45 minute drive north on I-65 north of the Holiday Inn.  

To learn more about the meeting, contact: 
MICHAEL BUCHART, Executive Secretary
12263 Brookshire Avenue, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70815 USA
E-mail: sctaes@gmail.com; Telephone: 225.505.6335