Immediate Release

Monday, March 26, 2007 

For Information Contact

798-5800

Picente Joins Farmers, Tour Promoters on March 27th To Kick Off Oneida County Agri-Tourism Project

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. today announced that he will be joined by local farmers and regional tourism promoters to kick off Oneida County ’s agri-tourism project on Tuesday, March 27th.

Registration for the event will begin at 8:30 a.m. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the offices of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County, 121 Second Street in Oriskany.

National agri-tourism expert Jane Eckert will be the featured speaker. The kick-off event begins a project funded by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to develop, expand and promote agriculture-related tourism in Oneida County .

“Around the country, there is a tremendous increase in agri-tourism as generations of people born and bred in cities want to see where their food comes from, what life is like on a farm, or just want to get away from hurried vacations and re-connect with their roots,” Picente said. “The purpose of the kick-off event is to start a dialogue among our farms and tourism promoters so that we can start to capitalize on this trend.”

Picente said that increasing agri-tourism in Oneida County will do more than bring in revenue to farms that become tourist attractions. “Agriculture is a critically important industry in Oneida County ,” Picente said. “Agri-tourism can help raise the profile of this very crucial part of our county, and help people who may never have thought about farm issues better understand the issues that face dairy farmers and other producers here in our county.”

Eckert, of Eckert Agri-Marketing, St. Louis , MO , is a recognized industry authority and has been honored with several awards from the North American Farmers Direct Marketing Association. She is responsible for turning her family farm into a top tourist destination that attracts over 500,000 visitors each year. Now, she helps farmers and tourism professionals all over the United States learn how to harvest revenues from this growing travel niche. The workshop, which is free to participants, will also include a panel discussion among Oneida County producers who operate agri-tourism ventures, and tourism professionals, with plenty of time for questions and answers. Lunch will be served.

Other project components include: a database of agri-tourism-related enterprises in Oneida County ; a map with listings and related information; a linked agri-tourism website; (3) Public programs; (3) Special interest promotional brochures; and establishment of an ongoing agri-tourism coordinating group. The attractive, colorful full-sized roadmap, which is expected to include approximately 200 listings, will likely be the project showpiece.  

Agri-tourism is a rapidly growing industry that includes all entities promoting and showcasing rural lifestyles, landscapes and products. Generally speaking, agri-tourism enterprises include fairs, festivals, events and venues; farm-fresh products and specialty shopping; recreation and nature; hospitality, food, and lodging; nursery, fishery, forestry and other rural industries; and tours and education.

  Anyone with questions about the AGRI*CULTURE project, should call Juanita Finn, Project Coordinator, (315) 831-2484, or Marty Broccoli, (315) 736-3394, Ext 121.