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Farming and Ranching

FR1.2

Diversify Farm and Ranch Adventure/Stay Programs

Farm and ranch adventure programs are a great way to promote tourism while benefiting Flint Hills farming and ranching operations. Contact the Flint Hills Regional Council to learn how to get started on a farm and ranch adventure program.

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Tool Information


Goals

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

Description

Many of the best directories of agricultural tourism opportunities attract people to them because there is something for everyone and many diverse activities to explore over time. A robust, comprehensive and diverse group of agricultural tourism opportunities helps the region to appeal to a broader base of visitors and resident participants. These may be dude ranches, walk-in hunting programs, produce and meat markets, rural bed and breakfasts, prairie burning or prairie chicken supervised viewing, U-pick farms and petting zoos. There are many adventure and agricultural experiences that are uniquely Flint Hills that may be operating in isolation and could benefit from better connections to other regional opportunities. Synergies may be found between neighbors offering similar services that could be mutually supportive. And, where there are gaps in what is being offered there is an opportunity for a new business or service to be offered that will complement other things happening within the region.

The Kaw Valley Tours are one example of a successful farm tour located north and south of the Kansas River.

Background

Intentionally working to diversify the agricultural tourism offerings in the region will ensure the viability of the existing businesses and create opportunities for new businesses.  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.  Providing accommodations and programs that provide these experiences can be an alternative source of income for farmers and ranchers in addition to the traditional agricultural income.  These experiences help to educate and raise awareness about food systems while helping to sustain the rural way of life.  The combination of agriculture and tourism helps to promote the sale and distribution of products that come from and may be unique to the region.  Agriculture events and adventures can provide an opportunity for local residents to join together in celebrating unique cultural experiences and to build upon the regional identity.  The more local citizens participate actively in events and activities, the more fun it is for visitors to be a part of something that is an authentic part of cultural life in the Flint Hills.   It will also help residents to value the natural wonders around them.  This heightened appreciation often leads to better stewardship.  When natural wonders have tourism value, it can be a threat to the wonder itself, but it can also place a value on land or resource that were previously considers of low value.  Agricultural tourism requires a thoughtful and coordinated regional approach so that those who appreciate and rely on the natural wonders can play an active role in helping to preserve its health and vitality.    

Implementation Strategy


Champions and Partners

Kansas Rural Center

Kansas Farmers Union

Kansas Farm Bureau

Farm Aid

Timeframe

Short (1-3 years)

Cost

$

Case Study


Kaw Valley Farm Tours

Images: Rob Zachritz

Every October twenty eight farms, in the Kaw Valley north and south of the river, open their farms to visitors. Farmers give tours and have the opportunity to promote local food and encourage visitors to learn about the value of eating locally. In addition to exposure for each farmers product, visitors experience the unique nature of this region. The tours are family friendly and offer many activities for kids to participate in.



 

Relevance

The Kaw Valley Tours showcase the diversity of agriculture in this region. While on the tour visitors can see wineries, bee ranches, orchards and family farms. The Flint Hills region has unique farming history that can be displayed on farm tours.