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Keeping in Touch with Tourism: Agritourism conference coming to area
Keeping in Touch with Tourism: Agritourism conference coming to area

Tourism Director Beth Wiles
The Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) will host the 2009 Missouri Agritourism Conference, themed "The Future Looks Bright," on Jan 16-17 at Lodge of the Four Seasons in Lake Ozark. The conference will be a two-day learning experience for those who are looking to enter the agritourism industry, are agritourism operators or are extension agents. The conference is sponsored cooperatively by MDA, AgriMissouri and the Missouri Farmers' Market Association.

"Missouri's agritourism businesses continue to provide families with a multitude of educational and fun day trips or weekend adventures that cannot be found in urban areas," said Don Steen, director of MDA. "Visitors to an agritourism operation have many opportunities to learn more about agriculture, pick their own fruit, tour a working dairy farm, pet a variety of farm animals, take a hay ride into a pumpkin patch, get lost in a corn maze and even discover Missouri's wine country.

Conference participants will hear on topics including: Identify Your Potential and Business Planning, How to Conduct School Tours, Running a Retail Shop on Your Farm, Romancing the Media, Bragging Rights: Successful Missouri Agritourism Operations, How to Use Social and Online Media to Brand Yourself, Adding Haunted Attractions: The Pros & Cons, Food Safety and much more.

The Missouri Farmers' Market Association will hold their annual membership meeting in conjunction with the conference on Jan. 17. Farmers' market masters and market vendors are encouraged to attend the meeting to learn more about growing heirloom tomatoes, gain salesmanship skills, innovative marketing ideas and hear the 2008 successes of markets and vendors across the state. Farmers' market participants need to register with Missouri Farmers' Market Association Secretary Eileen Nichols at eileennichols@sbcglobal.net.

For more information on the 2009 conference, visit www.mda.mo.gov or www.agrimissouri.com/agritourism.htm. For more information about the conference program, contact Sarah Gehring or Lane McConnell at (573) 751-4339 or via email Sarah.Gehring@mda.mo.gov or Lane.McConnell@mda.mo.gov.

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