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Rutgers to hold agritourism training seminars in January

CLAYTON — Agritourism is the business of establishing farms as travel destinations for educational and recreational purposes.
Farmers in New Jersey are finding a demand for local tourism and a desire from the consumer to “buy local.”
“One out of five New Jersey farms presently have some form of agritourism activity, and interest continues to grow”, according to Rutgers Agricultural Extension Policy Specialist Brian Schilling.
However, as Stephen Komar, Sussex County ag agent noted, “agritourism may not be for everyone. Each farmer needs to assess how well it fits into his or her lifestyle and farming operation”.
To assist New Jersey’s agricultural community in these endeavors, a program at Rutgers University has been developed to provide education and outreach to farmers who currently operate on-farm direct marketing businesses, like agritourism ventures, and for those who would like to develop an agritourism business.
Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Cooperative Extension, and New Jersey Farm Bureau will be holding educational conferences for farmers and those interested in agricultural marketing on the subject of agritourism.
Conferences will be held at three separate locations to accommodate attendees in North, Central and Southern New Jersey.
The cost of the conference is $10 per person, and will begin at 9 a.m., and finish at 3:30 p.m.
The first 2012 New Jersey Agritourism Conference will take place at the Rutgers Snyder Agricultural Research and Extension Farm in Pittstown on Tuesday, Jan. 24.
The Central New Jersey location will be at the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Burlington County office in Westampton on Wednesday, Jan. 25.
A third conference will be in Southern New Jersey on Thursday, Jan. 26 at the Gloucester County Rutgers Cooperative Extension Office in Clayton.
Rutgers agricultural agents and Extension specialists will be presenting information on various aspects of agritourism.
Dr. Samantha Rozier Rich, Extension tourism specialist, and Sue Colucci, area specialized agent with North Carolina State University, will be presenting information on “Using Communication Technology to Expand Your Business.”
The morning sessions will be delivered under the theme of “The Potential for Agritourism in New Jersey,” while the afternoon session theme is titled, “The Realities of Agritourism”.
Rutgers NJAES Fact sheets on various agricultural marketing subjects will be distributed with educational materials at the conference.
The NJFB has developed a new produce availability chart and a series of crop-specific price cards with nutritional information to be used for marketing local produce.
These materials are similar to the “Jersey Fresh” price cards developed by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
The cards will be available in print and via a computer CD for reproduction.
Marketing materials and this educational program are being funded by a USDA specialty crops block grant distributed by the NJDA.
For registration materials and a copy of the program visit http://events.rutgers.edu/njaes and choose the dates above on the electronic calendar.
For more information contact Agricultural Agent Michelle Infante-Casella at 856-307-6450, ext. 1.
Registrations are being taken through the NJFB office and checks can be made payable to NJFB.