Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Missouri Department of Agriculture Announces New Agritourism Survey

Agritourism, a relatively new sector in Missouri, provides farms an opportunity to add revenue to their current farm operation by providing Missourians an agricultural experience on a working farm. Until now, statistical data has not been taken for agritourism in Missouri regarding the number of farms engaged in this value-added sector. AgriMissouri, a program within the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA), in partnership with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism at the University of Missouri, are now conducting a survey among agricultural producers to determine how many farms are hosting visitors and the number of visitors that visit their farms each year.

“We encourage everyone engaged in agritourism to take 10 or 15 minutes of their time to complete this short survey. The results of the Missouri Agritourism Survey will help the Department of Agriculture understand the producer benefits associated with agritourism such as increased revenues for farmers and community development,” said Don Steen, director of MDA. “These results will provide valuable information that the department will be able to use to assist new and existing agritourism locations with the guidance they need.”

Anyone who hosts the public on their farm for an agricultural experience is encouraged to complete the Agritourism Survey. Everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win an AgriMissouri membership or one of two AgriMissouri gift boxes.

“Agritourism is a benefit to farmers and also to the rural communities. Visitors not only visit the farm and purchase local products but they are also stopping in the communities for gas or a meal and adding economic benefits to communities,” said Sarah Gehring, member services coordinator with AgriMissouri. “I strongly encourage all farmers who are engaged in agritourism to complete this survey. This will show us how large the industry is and will help to impact the future of Missouri’s agritourism industry.”

Farmers can complete the survey online at http://www.agritourismsurvey.org/ or request the printed version by contacting (573) 882-4299 or via email agritourism@missouri.edu.

Individual responses to the survey are kept confidential and will not be distributed to any individual, organization or company. For more information about the Missouri Agritourism Survey, contact Sarah Gehring at (573) 522-9213 or Sarah.Gehring@mda.mo.gov.

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