University of California

Posts Tagged: Agritourism

UCCE plans meeting to help producers with new water rules

The new law is mainly geared toward irrigated pasture.
Farmers and ranchers who use river or stream water must start submitting precise monthly records to the California Water Quality Control Board this year, said an article by Tim Hearden in Capital Press.

Before the new law took effect, the water board asked landowners for estimates, said Allan Fulton, a University of California Cooperative Extension advisor who serves Colusa, Glenn and Shasta counties. Fulton is an irrigation and water resources expert.

"There is a statewide effort at trying to more precisely understand and quantify how water is being used," he said.

UC Cooperative Extension will host a workshop March 31 to discuss the new requirement.

"I've had enough questions that I thought we ought to organize something," said Larry Forero, a UCCE director and advisor in Trinity County who specializes in livestock and natural resources.

Agritourism generates income, promotes farms
Tim Hearden, Capital Press

Agritourism, or activities and products offered on working farms to generate extra income from visitors, is a growing movement in California.

A recent UC survey determined that about 2.4 million visitors came to California farms in 2008 to enjoy some facet of agritourism, which could include lodges and cabins, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, "U-pick" operations and special events such as weddings and conferences.

"I think it really does help" farms, said UC agritourism coordinator Penny Leff. "It helps their name recognition if they're selling at the farmers' market or local stores. It helps in general for people to understand what farming's about, that food comes from farms."

Posted on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Tags: agritourism (22), Alan Fulton (3), Larry Forero (4), Penny Leff (7), water (47)

Farm tours a popular tourist activity in Monterey County

Monterey County's agriculture industry produces picturesque scenery.
Most tourists come to the Monterey area for its mild climate and coastal attractions, according to a San Francisco Chronicle article written by Christine Delso. Increasingly, tourists are showing interest in Monterey County’s No. 1 industry, agriculture. Evan Oakes, a former farm advisor and current consultant for UC Cooperative Extension in Monterey County, pioneered the agritourism trend here when he started AgVenture Tours in 1997, mixing agricultural education tours with sightseeing and wine tours of the county.

ANR news from UC campuses:

UC Davis launches agricultural sustainability degree
Eve Hightower, UC Davis news service

The UC Davis this fall will launch an undergraduate major focused on agricultural sustainability. The bachelor of science degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems uniquely integrates several subjects to provide students with a thorough understanding of the many issues facing modern farming and food systems, including production, processing, distribution, consumption and waste management.

Turfgrass field day at UC Riverside offers wealth of information about lawns and landscapes
Iqbal Pittalwala, UC Riverside

The public has an opportunity to get the latest information on the care and maintenance of home lawns and landscapes at the 2011 Turfgrass and Landscape Research Field Day, presented by the University of California, Riverside. The field day will take place from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Sept. 15, at the university’s Turfgrass Research Facility, 1060 Martin Luther King Boulevard, Riverside, Calif.

Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 8:54 AM
Tags: agritourism (22), Monterey (1)

Small farm program the source for NY Times story

New York Times reporter William Neuman attended the UC small farm program's final "Growing Agritourism" workshop in Salinas last month and connected with a number of California farmers who were featured in a story published yesterday. The article noted that the "university extension service" brought the farmers, agricultural and tourism professionals, local officials and community leaders together to talk about improving agritourism opportunities in the Central Coast region.

The workshop was one of five held this year by the UC small farm program and UC Cooperative Extension. Funding to support the workshops came from Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

The California agritourism enterprises featured in the story were:

  • Dairy farmers Jim and Christine Maguire, who operate two bed-and-breakfast units at their farm. "Money from the paying guests is now enough to pay for the animals’ feed, one of the farm’s biggest expenditures," the story says.

  • Christine Cole, who charges for tours of Full House Farm in Sebastopol, Calif., where she and her husband keep horses, raise vegetables and chickens and maintain three farm stay units.

  • Vince Gizdich who runs Gizdich Ranch in Watsonville, where visitors enjoy “Pik-Yor-Self” berries and apples.

  • Bonnie Swank, of Hollister, Calif., who runs a corn maze and haunted house each fall on land that grows vegetables the rest of the year.

  • Templeton farmer Kim A. Rogers and her husband, who pulled out their orchard to become full-time innkeepers. "Farming was exhausting work and the bed-and-breakfast was providing an increasing portion of their income," according to the Times.

The story mentioned a number of online resources for the public to find agritourism experiences including Farm Stay U.S., which maintains a listing of farm stays around the country, and World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, which acts as an online clearinghouse for people who want to trade labor for lodging on a farm, with stays ranging from days to months. But it didn't include the UC small farm program's own agritourism directory,, which steers visitors to the wide variety of agritourism destinations in California.

Gizdich Ranch operates a U-pick operation.
Gizdich Ranch operates a U-pick operation.

Posted on Friday, June 10, 2011 at 10:20 AM
Tags: agritourism (22)

Agritourism in agriculture's heartland

Thirty percent of the farmers offering agritourism events supplemented their regular farm income by $50,000 or more in 2008, according to a study by the UC small farm program that was covered on the front page of today's Fresno Bee. Nearly two-thirds of California agritourism operators planned to expand or diversify over the next five years.

"There is no question that there is a lot of potential for growth, and we are seeing it happen," the story quoted Shermain Hardesty, small farm program director and a co-author of the report.

In the article, reporter Robert Rodriguez described several Valley agritourism destinations:

  • Visitors can stay the night on the 95-acre tree Dinuba farm of Nori and Mike Taylor.
  • Farmer John Olivas lets people pick their own fruit and operates a fruit stand on his three-acre berry farm in Hanford.
  • Fresno farmer Mike Smith will allow people to pick their own flowers, lavender and produce on his 40-acre organic farm. In the fall, he will operate a pumpkin patch for the public and school tours.

"We know from all the consumer trends that people are willing to pay for an authentic experience and for specialty foods," said Ellie Rilla, community development adviser for UC Cooperative Extension in Marin County and co-author of the study. "And agritourism provides that."

The research article, California agritourism operations and their economic potential are growing, was published in the current issue of California Agriculture journal.

Bringing in visitors for a dinner in a barn is one form of agritourism.
Bringing in visitors for a dinner in a barn is one form of agritourism.

Posted on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 8:46 AM

Agritourism continues its whistle-stop tour of California

This week, the UC small farm program's final agritourism workshop in a series of five convenes in Monterey, winding up a whirlwind educational and promotional tour of California aimed at selling the farm - to visitors.

All over California, farmers are inviting visitors to participate in farm camps, harvest festivals, horseback riding, hiking, hunting, bird-watching, tours and farm stand activities like tasting and picking, according to a Corning Observer story about the Feb. 23 agritourism workshop in Red Bluff.

"Agritourism is a good way for farmers and ranchers to connect with the community and make money doing it. The main objective is to make the business work," the article quoted Penny Leff, UC agritourism coordinator.

The workshop series is offering professional development for people involved in agritourism and building a stronger infrastructure for successful agritourism in the region. Participants are learning that agritourism could be profitable, but it is also challenging.

"Don't quit your day job," agritourism entrepreneur Bob Nash said at the Red Bluff event. His small small pumpkin patch on the Old Oregon Trail has evolved to include wagon rides, a petting zoo, an antique tractor show and tractor pulls, corn maze, haunted house and a variety of activities and demonstrations. "It doesn't happen overnight and it takes a lot of marketing."

Other speakers advised talking to city and county planners, doing research, assessing a competitive advantage, understanding the market, finding an angle, navigating the permit and approval process, collaborating with partners, developing a trusted product and marketing it to customers, wrote reporter Susan Meeker.

The final agritourism workshop will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3, at the Monterey County UC Cooperative Extension office. Find more information here.

Diverse offerings will attract visitors to the farm.
Diverse offerings will attract visitors to the farm.

Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 9:21 AM
Tags: agritourism (22), Penny Leff (7)

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