Agritourism initiative in Oregon

17 Jun

Scottie Jones, Leaping Lamb Farm Stay, Alsea OR

I’ve been working with Travel Oregon as well as a group of partners including Oregon State University’s Small Farms Program to cultivate a better environment for agritourism here. It’s fun work about the hard work of farming and ranching: it renews my gratefulness to those who steward the environment, preserve open space and beautiful vistas, and work the soil to put healthy delicious food on my table!

Because it’s hard to make a living in agriculture these days, some farmers pursue agritourism to diversify income streams and improve their bottom line. Others are motivated to explore agritourism by the desire to pass on knowledge of the land and the agricultural way of life in an urbanized culture where fewer and fewer people have hands on experience with rural living. Others still are motivated to sustain a healthy ecosystem. All of these activities drive creative agritourism entrepreneurs. Whatever the motivation, we should make it easier for them to try new things, or we will lose our farms, regional food systems, and an important aspect of our cultural heritage. And from purely an economic development perspective, agritourism merits investment: it has proven to be a significant contributor to rural economic vitality in many other parts of the world.

Travel Oregon just completed a major revamping of its web site, with a feature portal for agritourism. The page references a newly commissioned study about agritourism opportunities: Write to Know produced that study. Now we’re working from its recommendations and connections to increase the visibility of existing agritourism destinations and to support new ventures as well. Next year at this time, it should be robust with actions and recommendations for visitors!

6 Ranch, Enterprise Oregon