Workshop to help farmers start, expand agritourism ventures

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Farmers who want to start or grow an agritourism operation can learn about traditional and innovative ways to get the most out of their time, skills and dollars at the Indiana Horticulture Congress' Agritourism Preconference Workshop.

The Jan. 17 workshop at Wyndham Indianapolis West Hotel will include sessions on legal issues, social media, traditional media relations, and developing an effective marketing and communications plan on a budget.

"For the person who is trying to start or expand in agritourism, this is going to be the place to learn from their peers and experts, people who are successful in marketing their agritourism venue or their tourism venue in general," said Roy Ballard, Purdue Extension agriculture and natural resources educator and an organizer of the event. "We will have panelists who are practicing this every day successfully and other experts who will be able to share their knowledge."

Speakers will include Rocky Walls, chief executive of 12 Stars Media Productions; Jeremy Williams, interactive production manager for the Indiana Office of Tourism Development; and Greg Marlett, president of the board of the Morgan County Farmers Market and owner of Hard Way Farms.

There will be sessions on Indiana's new agritourism limited liability law, a new agritourism direct marketing association for Indiana, marketing through Facebook and other social media, and creating affordable and engaging online videos.

An afternoon panel discussion will highlight best practices in media relations, and the day will end with an agritourism roundtable discussion. Attendees will be able to meet with other agritourism professionals during breaks.

To register, visit http://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=984240 . There is a reduced fee for anyone registering before Jan. 9.

The workshop is part of the annual Indiana Horticulture Congress and Trade Show, a three-day event featuring exhibits and presentations on current agriculture topics. Attendees have the option to register for only the workshop by selecting one-day registration on the website.

In addition to Purdue Extension, the Horticulture Congress is sponsored by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Indiana Cooperative Development Center and the Indiana Office of Tourism Development. For more information about the full conference, visit http://www.inhortcongress.org . The Wyndham Indianapolis West Hotel is at 2544 Executive Drive.



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