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UMaine Extension Starting Agritourism Initiative

Farm-based tourism, known as agritourism, can provide farmers with significant supplemental income, especially for smaller operations. University of Cooperative Extension, which recognizes the economic impact agritourism can have on individual farmers, is devoting a new program area focusing on educating, promoting and supporting agritourism opportunities throughout Maine’s farming community.

UMaine Extension’s Marc Edwards, a tourism and economic development professional, will present the program, “An Introduction to Growing Tourism on the Farm,” from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 15 at the UMaine Extension Franklin County office at
138 Pleasant St., Suite 1, in Farmington.

The session is open to the public and costs $25 for materials.

The program is intended for new and existing farmers currently not engaging in agritourism activities, but who may be considering developing agritourism on their farms. It also will bring awareness of agritourism opportunities.

After attending this program, participants will have a general understanding of agritourism, and will be able to identify at least one potential agritourism activity on their farm. Participants will also be able to identify the first three basic steps toward developing agritourism on their farm.
What defines agritourism, according to Edwards, can range from roadside stands and pick-your-own operations to farmers markets and on-farm retail stores.

“It really depends on who you ask,” he says. “There are many definitions out there.”

A 2006 UMaine report estimated Maine farms that incorporate agritourism activities generated total farm sales of $65.6 million. Agritourism activities accounted for about 43 percent ($28.3 million) of the total sales on those farms. These sales supported 1,762 full- and part-time jobs, or 39 percent of all hired workers on agritourism farms.

Contact: Marc Edwards, (207) 778-4650 or marc.edwards@maine.edu

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