MISSOURI – Have you ever heard of agritourism? It turns out that most Missourians do not have to go far to find a business involved.
KMZU’s Sara Miles spoke with Kelly Smith, the Marketing and Commodities Director for the Missouri Farm Bureau about agritourism and how you can get involved.
“Basically, agritourism is a farmer trying to draw people out to his farm for some source of revenue, most of the time,” Smith stated. “It is the public wanting to come to a farm or rural Missouri to do an activity of some kind.”
Residents flock to agritourism spots for a variety of reasons. Pumpkin patches and corn mazes provide some family fun in the fall while roadside markets provide fresh, locally grown foods. Wineries and bed and breakfasts give parents time to relax and a camping trip takes cell phones and video games out of the equation, if only for a weekend.
The numer of agritourism-centered businesses is staggering. Most people are just a short drive away from several different places. A full list of agritourism spots in Missouri can be found at www.agrimissouri.com.
Smith notes that activities such as farm tours provide an educational experience that cannot be found elsewhere.
“Two out of three people have never been on a working farm here in the Midwest,” Smith explains. “With that, we have kind of lost that chain of where food comes from.”
The Missouri Farm Bureau held its annual Agritourism Conference in Columbia this last weekend to help bring awareness to agritourism and to help those interested become involved. Participants heard speakers, including Lieutenant Governor Mike Parsons, attended workshops, and took a tour of local agritourism business.
This time next year, the conference will be held in the Cape Girardeau area with a new group of speakers and tour stops. More information will be available closer to the time of the conference.
To find out more about agritourism, Smith recommends contacting the Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Department of Agriculture, or your local University of Missouri Extension office.