|Almost Spring Greetings From Martha--
This newsletter is a little late getting out, as you know, but the Agritourism Office has been so busy, the schedule of the Executive Director hasn’t allowed for getting out a newsletter. Hard work had to be done – not the fun things! But, here we are, back in gear. I hope everyone who was able to attend the conference had a great time, learned a lot, and got to network with new friends. Those were our goals – and networking was the most important.
Our new web address for the General Store is www.visitncfarms.com. This address is in line with the websites sponsored by Commerce, and those sites ar closely identified with North Carolina tourism.
I attended the Rural Center’s Entrepreneurship Summit yesterday in Raleigh. Billy Ray Hall, President of the Rural Center and an outspoken advocate for rural entrepreneurs – and you are they! – listed four “Gaps and Priorities for Action” that he charged those rural leaders in attendance to “make happen!” They were entrepreneurship education; technical assistance and seamless resource information and referral; financing; NETWORKS; and community support.
I was fortunate to meet with several legislators who are on the brand new House and Senate Standing Committees on Commerce, Small Business and Entrepreneurship. I talked with Rep. Margaret Dickson, chair of the House committee, and one of the vice chairs, Rep. Becky Carney about ANA. Rep. Dickson related to me that she and her sister have inherited their family farm in the Cumberland County area, and have been thinking of some possibilities for it.
I spoke with two Senate committee members, Sen. Tony Foriest, Guilford, and Sen. John Kerr, Wayne, about ANA. Sen. Kerr told me about a family in Goldsboro that has a therapeutic riding farm, and he wants me to get him some information about the agritourism program.
I also had a chance to speak to Sen. Basnight, and told him about The Island Farm in Manteo, an ANA member. He was impressed and does know about the farm.
Welcome to NCANA.email@example.com. You have been subscribed to the new NC Agritourism list serve (mail list) which supports only ANA member communications. You can ask questions, pose problems and ask for solutions, make announcements, and hear from other members of ANA.
To post to the list, send your email to:
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with the word "help" in the subject or body (don't include quote marks) and you will receive a reply with instructions.
You must know your password to change your options. An email was sent to you on Feb. 13, 2007. Normally, "mailman" will remind you once a month of your participation on this list and give you the option of unsubscribing by including instructions.
There is also a button on your options page that will email your password to you.
I hope you will find this list serve useful for networking with your agritourism peers and rural supporters.
District representatives and some of the officers are beginning to schedule district workshops this Spring to attract potential agritourism farmers as well as ANA members. The workshops will be very similar to the January conference, but shorter in time. They will be scheduled from late afternoon until just after supper, with a meal provided. The agenda will include local topics such as liability insurance, how to work with local officials and policy makers on issues such as zoning, the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, hospitality, and marketing. Scheduled as of March 1: Asheville, March 29 and Forsyth Co., April 19. Stay tuned for more info.
Our January 2007, the first statewide conference was held quite a success. Approximately 125 participants heard information from panel discussion on the challenges of finding and affording liability insurance; local zoning challenges; a presentation by Guy Loeffler, a winery owner who is experiencing zoning challenges from a company wanting to open a rock quarry near his vineyard; a presentation on a new hospitality workshop being developed for extension agents to train staff at agritourism farms and other rural businesses; the latest on marketing resources from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Handmade in America, and the NC Arts Council’s HomegrownHandmade program; and a presentation on the North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund. Steve Tate of Goat Lady Dairy explained the advantages of putting much of his land into conservation trusts.
|First Statewide ANA Conference
After lunch, there were presentations on the Department of Transportation’s three tourism highway signage programs. The next talk was by Wendy Wilson of Lazy 5 Ranch who explained her grassroots effort, supported by an ANA member network which communicated with state Senators to explain how the passage of a law exempting agritourism farmers from a privilege [entertainment] tax would benefit agritourism farmers. We believe the work by ANA members to educate our senators helped get the bill become law.
She firmly believed that the ANA network educated lawmakers about the need for passage of the law and helped insure its passage. Her talk was followed by a presentation by the executive vice president of the state Agribusiness Council on practical tips for working with policy-makers and elected officials, from the town board to Congress.
Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler addressed the group at the close of the conference. He spoke about the need to preserve the family farm, provide grant money for agritourism farmers, and bring more visitors to North Carolina’s varied agritourism farms. He said, “We need to bring another generation back to the farm by creating economic opportunities.” After his talk, he took questions and mingled with the group for pictures and conversation.
The final business was the election of new officers, board members and amendments to bylaws. Dwight and Sharon Austin are returning as president and treasurer, respectively, and we appreciate their son Robert attending and acting as parliamentarian. Robbie Lewis of Gastonia is our new vice president, and his wife Cathy is the SW district rep. Kristi Marshall of Summerfield was elected secretary, and her husband Paul is one of the two NW district reps. Teresa Johnson wanted to continue a second year as the other NW district rep. The NW district has the largest contingent at the conference. Vicki McKee of Rougemont is the new NC rep, and Butch Velez, 2006 SE rep, was joined by Margaret Shelton of Leland as a SE district rep. Marty Thompson, we hope, will continue as NE rep, and Marilyn Cade of Burnsville is the new W district rep.