10 Ways to Advertise your Agritourism Event (for Free!)

Apple orchards, pumpkin patches, corn mazes and hay rides — agritourism is an opportunity for farmers to diversify operations, add a new stream of revenue, and finish the season in a strong cash position. That is if the event is well attended.

Advertising creates awareness and invites agritourists to attend your on-farm event. It is the difference between putting on a profitable event and facing a stack of bills and a field of rotting pumpkins. Here are 10 ways to advertise your agritourism event for free!

  1. Facebook Event. Facebook is an online platform that connects friends, families and communities. Users can create a Facebook Event for free and invite people to attend. To create a free Facebook event, login to your farm’s Facebook business page, click events on the left menu bar, then press the + Create Event button. Add a picture and description of the event, including date(s), time and location. Mark the event as public. Public events appear in Facebook’s calendar of event listings and allow users to share the event with their networks.
  2. Facebook Groups. Facebook Groups allow people with common interests to connect online. Community-based groups exist to share news, sales and recreation. Post and promote your agritourism event in Facebook Groups for free. Find local Facebook Groups by searching city and state in the Facebook search bar and selecting Groups.
  3. Community calendar. Many local newspapers publish a weekly events calendar and also host an online community calendar on their website. Contact the newspaper to add your agritourism event.
  4. Organizations and clubs. Community organizations and clubs such as the YMCA, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, civic clubs and ministries make good partners to promote family-friendly events. Consider donating a portion of profits to the organization or club in exchange for promoting your on-farm event to members.
  5. Tourism display. Area hotels and motels, visitor centers and local restaurants maintain displays of tourism brochures to help visitors find local fun. Ask permission to add your promotional materials.
  6. Community board. Local businesses and libraries showcase events on community boards. Ask to post a flyer.
  7. Press Release. Write a press release about your agritourism event. Submit the press release to local publications. Free press release templates are available online.
  8. Newspaper story. Journalists love story ideas, especially when ideas focus on the community they serve. Contact local newspaper staff and suggest a story about your farm. Perhaps your farm has been in the family 100 years, sells to residents at the farmers’ market, or donates fresh food to the local food pantry. A story is a great way to share your farm story and promote your agritourism event.
  9. Chamber of Commerce. Chambers host a network of local businesses and community organizations. They can help you identify cross-promotional opportunities with other businesses and organizations in your area.
  10. Visitor Bureau. Some visitor bureaus offer grant funding to promote events that increase tourism in the local area. You can utilize grant funds to print professional brochures, signage and other promotional materials for your agritourism event. Contact the visitor bureau to inquire if a marketing assistance program exists in your county.

*Article originally published in Farm & Dairy Newspaper

 

Ohio Agritourism Benefits Farmers and Consumers

The morning began with a hearty cowboy breakfast, then we saddled the horses and hit the trails. We buckaroos rode over rolling hills and crossed trickling creeks. When the afternoon sun grew hot, we rested the horses under a shady canopy of trees. That evening we were treated to a chuck-wagon dinner around a campfire, complete with s’mores and cowboy poetry. It was a perfect day made possible by agritourism.

My husband and I are diehard agritourists. Each summer we visit a local u-pick blueberry farm in South Bloomfield, Ohio. I buy plenty of berries to eat fresh and freeze. In fall we attend Hirsch’s Annual Apple Harvest Open House. We ride the hay wagon to the peak of the property and gaze down at the apple orchard below. The beautiful view still takes my breath away — even after six seasons attending Hirsch Fruit Farm’s agritourism event!

“Inviting the public onto your farm to participate in farm-related activities and see for themselves how food is produced in Ohio can be a win-win for both farmers and consumers,” Christie Welch, Direct Marketing Program Specialist at the Ohio State University South Centers said. “It is a great way to educate the public, and it can add additional income to your operation.”

More benefits

Agritourism also is a business diversification strategy. A pumpkin grower can add a pick-your-own pumpkin patch. Hops and wine grape growers can host locally produced beer and wine tastings at their yard or vineyard. Producers can complement their current offerings with an agritourism activity; a grower of specialty crops can partner with a local chef to cook up a farm-to-table dinner.

Ohio AgritourismReady Conference

Producers considering adding agritourism to their operation will find the possibilities are endless, but there are several things to consider before opening your barn door to the public. Whether you have been inviting the public onto your farm for years or are just exploring the possibilities, the Ohio AgritourismReady Conference aims to prepare producers with the knowledge to start or expand an agritourism operation.  Topics for the conference include:

  • Food & Animals – Managing Liability
  • Awesome Customer Service
  • Getting Grants and Low-Interest Loans
  • Spirits, Beer, and Wine, Oh My!
  • Much more

The conference is being presented by the Ohio State University Extension Direct Food and Agriculture Marketing Team, The Resource and Ag Law Program, Wright & Moore, LPA, and The Ohio Farm Bureau and Pike County Farm Bureau.

The second annual Ohio AgritourismReady Conference we be held March 10, 2018 at the OSU South Centers Endeavor Center in Piketon, Ohio. Registration is required as space is limited.  For more information or to register contact gardner.1148@osu.edu or 740-289-2071 x. 132.  Deadline to register is March 2.  The registration fee is $25/person.  Farm Bureau members can receive a $5 discount.

*Originally published by Farm & Dairy at https://www.farmanddairy.com/top-stories/ohio-agritourism-benefits-farmers-and-consumers/474157.html