SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Agritourism is a booming industry that has combines the tourism and agriculture industries to bridge the gap between farm to table, as well as provide additional income for producers.
SDSU Extension is launching its new AgritourismSD program to educate South Dakota farmers and ranchers on agritourism and provide them with resources to begin adding agritourism to their operations. AgritourismSD is an opportunity for producers to draw in visitors while providing a supplemental income for the owner.
“I think it’s a perfect way for our producers in South Dakota to really get firsthand with consumers and talking with them and creating a network and opportunities to have those conversations,” Stacy Hadrick, SDSU Extension Associate and Program Coordinator, said. “So often what I hear from South Dakota producers is they want to connect more with people, but we are quite rural in most of our state so it’s kind of hard to do that.”
With tourism being the second largest industry in South Dakota, following agriculture, we know that they will go together hand-in-hand, Hadrick said. She says it is important to figure out a way to get consumers on the farms and ranches to have them experience what producers do every day.
SDSU Extension is building this two-year program around case-studies so participants can learn from others who are actively running agritourism enterprises on their farms or ranches. The program will allow producers to engage with each other and experts through face-to-face workshops, interactive webinars, networking and out-of-state learning experiences where they will meet with Case Study Coaches who have strong agritourism enterprises. Since there currently is not a lot of diversity in South Dakota agritourism, they had to collect some case stories from surrounding states with longer running agritourism establishments, Hadrick said.
An additional component of the AgritourismSD program is the agritourism hubs: Faulkton, Timber Lake and Wall. Participants in these communities will work together with local partners to create communities that are agritourism destinations. Other participants in the program will be able to model their agritourism enterprises after these hubs.
There are several other states that have very well established agritourism departments, and although both the South Dakota Department of Tourism and Extension do a great job in developing agritourism components in the state, Hadrick says this plan develops it further.
“We saw there is just a lack of maturity in our state for a diversity of agritourism activities, so that’s why we saw this as a need and are very excited about the response that we have had so far from people,” Hadrick said.
The AgritourismSD program is modeled after the BeefSD program, which has been a big success in connecting BeefSD alumni and those eager to share their agricultural story.