• Registration is Now Open for Special Iowa Agritourism Tours

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    May 10, 2023
    Registration is now open for two special Iowa Agritourism tours. Individuals who provide on-farm experiences or who are interested in beginning their own agritourism business are invited to participate. Community leaders wanting to promote rural Iowa experiences to attract more visitors to their region are encouraged to attend.

    Participants will experience Iowa agritourism firsthand and have the unique opportunity to sit down and exchange business ideas and advice with other agritourism operators. Each tour’s $10 registration fee includes personal farm visits, a farm-to-table lunch, plus additional agritourism recourses. Individuals may register for one or both tours. Group size is limited to one motorcoach on a first-registration basis. These two events are sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Iowa’s State Tourism Office.

    The tours will feature a variety of agritourism experiences and insider business tips, including farm stays and short-term rentals, incorporating classes to extend income beyond the growing season, creating day camps for youth and adults, and utilizing specialty crops to attract additional visitor income. Participants provide their own travel to the motorcoach tour start locations of Donahue or Missouri Valley, Iowa. Each tour’s start location is supplied when registering.

    The two Agritourism Entrepreneurship Business Education Tours will be held on the dates and locations below and listed online at https://go.iastate.edu/OYFBDL.

    Donahue, Iowa: Agritourism Business Education Tour
    Tuesday, June 13 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. $10 Fee. Registration deadline is May 23
    Registration Link:
    Cinnamon Ridge Farms with John and Joan Maxwell www.tourmyfarm.com/
    Learn how these robotic dairy farm owners engage audiences about modern agriculture with farm tours, day camps and special events; and how they promote Iowa agriculture to the world by building community relationships and corporate connections, such as John Deere and Viking River Cruises. Enjoy a delicious farm-produced lunch, view an innovative way to sell farm produce, and gain understanding of why this award-winning agritourism farm receives five-star visitor reviews.

    Miss Effie’s Country Flowers with Cathy Lafrenz http://www.misseffies.com/
    Stroll through Iowa’s first you-pick flower farm to discover a simplicity of the past, framed by flowers and fantasy. Picture yourself among the blossoms and visualize how you might use your own farm for photo session revenue. Learn how to incorporate classes into your business plan to generate income beyond your growing season. Each participant will receive a fresh flower bouquet as a reminder of the ideas gathered today.

    Iowa’s Loess Hills Agritourism Business Education Tour
    Tuesday, July 25. 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. $10 Fee. Registration deadline is July 5.
    Registration Link:
    https://go.iastate.edu/DKHNMN .  
    Grain Bin Getaway with Brent and Christy Nie Airbnb.com/h/grainbingetaway
    Have you thought about renting your farm or rural property for overnight stays? Hear how Loess Hills property owners became top-rated Airbnb Superhosts after they repurposed an old grain bin into a tiny house and public response exceeded their expectations. Take a rare peek inside this beautifully designed country getaway, and learn about navigating the world of short-term rentals from creative and business-savvy entrepreneurs.

    Sawmill Hollow with Vaughn and Cindy Pittz https://www.sawmillhollow.com/
    Aronia berries are often called a superfruit because of their high antioxidant activity. Sawmill Hollow Farm was a pioneer in cultivating this native berry for food production and developing a product line from the deep purple fruit. Tour participants will be treated to a farm-to-table aronia berry lunch in a beautiful Loess Hills setting while learning about this alternative crop, and how this family utilizes it for agritourism. The meal and farm visit will end with a Q&A session and aronia berry wine tasting

    Loess Hills Lavender Farm with Tracy Porter and Mary Hamer https://loesshillslavender.com/
    Lavender is used for floral arrangements, hand creams, air fresheners, and essential oils. Participants in this tour will have a chance to eat it! Our hosts will provide lavender lemonade and lavender blossom cookies as they share how this agritourism farm began, how it overcame hurdles, and how the expanded farm operates today. Participants may also explore the farm’s lavender plants and products as they hear the owner’s vision for the future.

    For more information about these special Iowa Agritourism Entrepreneurship Tours, contact ISU Extension State Tourism Specialist Diane Van Wyngarden at dvw@iastate.edu.

    Samuel Genson, County Director
    sgenson@iastate.edu, (563) 659-5125