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Farming and Ranching

FR1.1

Develop an Agricultural Tourism Directory

Contact the Flint Hills Regional Council for more information about developing an agricultural tourism directory.

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Tool Information


Goals

  1. Tourism
  2. Family Farms and Ranches
  3. Marketing

Description

There are already many tourism programs in the Flint Hills with an agricultural theme from dude ranches, walk-in hunting, produce and meat markets, rural bed and breakfasts, prairie burning or prairie chicken viewing, and petting zoos.  Some of these businesses have an on-line presence to help attract visitors to participate in a unique Flint Hills farm and ranch experience and others spread by word of mouth.  Many of these programs are linked to websites like www.TravelKS.com which offer listings for lodging and ranch experiences, but many cannot be found in these directories.  Building upon this directory to make it easy and affordable for small agritourism businesses to be listed and further linking the Kansas directory to other national directories is a way to broaden the access for tourists seeking an authentic rural experience in the unique and endangered ecosystem of the Flint Hills Prairie.  

directory 2
Image by K. Latham, 2008 cc:  Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Background

Agritourism, or Agricultural Tourism, attracts visiting adventure seekers to participate in working farm life and to have a genuine experience with nature, with their food system, and with an agricultural lifestyle.  Tourism brings the benefit of outside resources that add to the local economy but also brings the challenges of more people and the potential to create a negative environmental footprint in the fragile ecosystem that is attracting them.  Providing a directory of local opportunities helps to meet the demand from visitors with local providers of jobs and helps keep the property in the hands of local farmers and ranchers who desire to preserve their way of life, diversify their income streams, and protect the land and ecosystem that has sustained their families for generations.  Many local providers joining forces to advertise the opportunities for local food and adventure will help to raise the visibility of the Flint Hills as a destination.  Thoughtful approaches to tourism can provide an authentic experience that also underscores the value of the unique ecosystem and helps to promote the importance of stewardship and preservation.  

Image 1 directory
Image by K. Latham, 2008 cc:  Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Implementation Strategy


Champions and Partners

The following are champions and partners for implementing this tool:
  • Kansas Travel & Tourism (Travel KC/Flint Hills)
  • Flint Hills Tourism Coalition
  • Farm Bureau
  • Kansas Viticulture & Farm Winery Association
  • K-state Research & Extension
  • Kansas Farmers’ Markets (From the Land of Kansas)
  • Kansas Rural Center
  • Kansas AgriTourism
  • Walk-in Hunting Access Program

Timeframe

Short (1-3 years)

Cost

$$

Cost Details

  • Staff to expand the outreach of existing local directories and maintain website content
  • Templates for small businesses to easily upload their information

Funding Sources

  • USDA
  • A subscriber fee rate based on size of business
  • Non-profit funding from tourism promotional organizations

Implementation Details

A brief outline of the first few steps necessary for implementation are provided. The steps outlined here are provided only as a suggested starting point and other approaches are certainly valid.

Identify a champion organization such as Travel KC

  • Identify additional staff needs and funding needs to manage outreach
  • Convene a group of local providers, or reach out to them via mail or phone to understand how a directory could serve their needs 

Case Study


California Agricultural Tourism Directory

The University of California's Agricultural Tourism Directory offers opportunities to find a local farm or ranch to visit and one can search for accommodations, direct agricultural sales, educational experiences, entertainment, and outdoor recreation.  Whether looking for a place to camp, a place to buy a pumpkin, or a summer camp for students, this site has something for the many types of agricultural consumers.  The site helps to connect people to local food and products while promoting a diverse agricultural economy.  This site links maps and trails and websites for local farm adventure and education programs around the state in one location.   It also links providers together into a community and provides a newsletter, regulation and permitting information, and resources to support the success of new and existing businesses.   

http://www.calagtour.org/

 


Relevance

This case study is a great model for a website that helps direct visitors and residents to a diverse array of agricultural experiences.