This year, speakers will provide a look at successes and challenges within Virginia agritourism. They will also offer their perspectives on subjects including the development of an agritourism operation, best practices in customer service, tactics for marketing an operation through multiple sources, measures to ensure farm safety, event hosting, networking with agritourism farms, and the path to building a regional approach.

Farm tours will take place during the first day of the conference in Surry, Isle of Wight, Suffolk, The City of Franklin, and Southampton County. The tours will offer guests the opportunity to visit agritourism venues related to wine, pumpkin patches, homesteads, horse riding, school land lab, and more. Tours will visit Darden’s Country Store, Isle of Wight County Schools Land Lab, Drewry Berry Farms, Hampton Roads Winery, PandA Homestead, Summerwind Vineyards, and Mill Swamp Indian Horses.

The conference is sponsored by Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tourism Corporation, Virginia Tech, Virginia State University Small Farm Outreach Program, Farm Credit, Virginia Association of Counties, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia FAIRS, Virginia Farm Bureau, USDA Rural Development, and Virginia Agribusiness Council.

Register online here. The registration deadline is Wednesday, March 25. You may register for each day separately or the whole conference  for $150. For more information, contact Livvy Preisser of Virginia Cooperative Extension at 757-365-6261 or [email protected]. No refunds are offered after registration deadline.

If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact Livvy Preisser at 757-365-6261 during business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations at least 5 days prior to the event. *TDD number is (800) 828-1120.

Zeke Barlow, Virginia Tech University

Virginia agritourism is a growing industry that can generate more than $2.2 billion in economic impact. Photo: Virginia Tech University