Results of the Rutgers Agritourism Conferences Michelle Infante-Casella1, William Bamka1, Jenny Carleo1, Sue Colucci2, Peter Furey3, Nicole Goger3, Stephen Komar1, Lucas Marxen1, Meredith Melendez1, Jack Rabin1, Samantha Rozier Rich4, Brian Schilling1 1 Rutgers NJAES Coperative Extension, 88 Lipman Dr., New Brunswick, NJ 08901; 2 North Carolina State University Extension, 740 Glover St., Hendersonville, NC 28792; 3 New Jersey Farm Bureau, 168 West State Street, Trenton, New Jersey 08608; 4 North Carolina State University, Campus Box 8004, Raleigh, NC 27695;Abstract The Rutgers Agritourism Working Group has discovered that in today’s economy their clients have had to shift their efforts from growing for the wholesale market to the direct sale of fresh and value-added products to local residents and visitors. The team’s research has shown that 1 out of every 5 New Jersey farms is now engaged inagritourism, generating an estimated $57.5 million in annual revenue statewide.Along with these changes come new needs: the growers need educationalassistance on topics such the “experience economy”, farm visitor safety, usingsocial media and other agritourism topics related to this new customer-producerdynamic. The team secured $40,000 from the U.S.D.A. Specialty Crop Block Grantsin collaboration with New Jersey Farm Bureau (NJFB). Using these funds, the teamdesigned and hosted the first Rutgers Agritourism Conference. The conferenceconsisted of a one day conference repeated in three locations on three separatedays. The target audiences were livestock operators and crop producers currentlyinvolved in agritourism, or considering agritourism on their farm. Attendance atthe three conferences totaled 211 farmers and policy-makers/enforcers.Comments from attendees reflect the value they derived from the conference,including statements like: “The program was worth more than $100” (a modest$10 registration fee was charged)! “This program farexceeded my expectations!” “The program was wellthought out, hit many subjects, and was good for Results and Discussionpeople starting out in agritourism and for those of us Participants overall felt that the conference was well worth their time whetherwho have done this for years.” they were experienced in the agritourism field or just beginning to think about agritourism as an option for their farm. 100% of survey respondents felt that the conference met their expectations, 36% felt that the conference was above their expectations, and 35% felt that the conference was far above their expectations.Materials and MethodsThe workshops were funded by a $40,000 USDA Specialty Crop Grant and offeredin collaboration with the NJ Farm Bureau and Rutgers NJAES CooperativeExtension. The goal was aiding farmers in beginning or honing existingagritourism operation skills. The conferences were held in 3 locations. Wedeveloped advertisement brochures, posted the events on web site calendars,blog posts, Facebook, newsletters, newspapers and via other media outlets toattract potential participants. Team members presented lectures which includes http://njsustainingfarms.rutgers.edu/agritourism.htmlmembers from North Carolina State University Extension.