2007 Economic Development Strategies - Agritourism Industry
With New Jersey farmers facing rising costs and stagnant commodity prices, agri-tourism offers an important opportunity to generate additional farm income and keep farms economically viable. Agri-tourism presents opportunities for New Jersey growers seeking to add value to their crops and/or capture more of the market price of their products by directly accessing consumers. Many residents consider agriculture a novelty and something to be explored and enjoyed. They desire to share the agricultural experience while increasing farm income at the same time. New Jersey’s agri-tourism industry provides for a great introduction to the agriculture of the Garden State. The educational and economic contributions of agri-tourism to the state’s agricultural economy are many.
Other states have comprehensive agri-tourism programs that will be studied as work moves forward to more closely cooperate with the various agencies that share a common interest in promoting tourism in New Jersey. An example of another state success is Vermont, where $19.5 million of farm income was created by agri-tourism in 2002.
To assist in the development of the agri-tourism industry, the Department will be focusing on three major objectives: developing strategic partnerships, consumer promotion and industry education.
10. AGRI-TOURISM STRATEGIES
10.1 Develop Strategic Partners
88) STRATEGY – Continue to support the New Jersey Agri-Tourism Industry Advisory Council in their charge to develop, support, and market this sector of the agricultural community.
89) STRATEGY– Continue working with the N.J. Office of Travel & Tourism to develop and market agri-tourism. Encourage Travel and Tourism to incorporate agri-tourism research into their established travel industry research program. Market agri-tourism to the travel and tourism trade through participation in the annual Governor's Conference on Tourism, cooperative advertising, and other industry opportunities.
90) STRATEGY - Coordinate an agri-tourism press familiarization tour to acquaint the regional travel and tourism media with New Jersey agri-tourism. This is a standard tourism practice and it should result in trade and consumer press.
10.2 Consumer Promotion
91) STRATEGY– Produce and distribute an inexpensive agri-tourism brochure with industry websites and contact information. This brochure would promote seasonal events, special attractions, and direct farm marketing opportunities. Coordinate an industry cooperative advertising program.
92) STRATEGY- Continue to develop a current events list of agri-tourism activities highlighting various events and attractions throughout New Jersey. Create and disseminate regular press releases promoting the agri-tourism industry and the Department’s websites. The agri-tourism listing on the Jersey Fresh website will continue to promote direct marketing, agricultural festivals, and special attractions.
93) STRATEGY – Continue to develop the Department’s new interactive, GIS-based, agri-tourism industry website; “visitnjfarms.org” allowing for easy consumer mapping based on products, services and location, within a specified town or county, or within a specified driving radius of a user-defined beginning point. Promote to growers the website’s feature that allows password access to provide updates to their listing.
94) STRATEGY – Develop and market three agri-tourism based travel tours for each of the state’s six tourism regions. Market these tours to consumers and the travel trade.
10.3 Industry Education
95) STRATEGY - Coordinate an Agri-Tourism symposium to address common opportunities and challenges and to provide some basic tourism and hospitality industry training. Work with Rutgers Cooperative Extension to develop and implement this training.
96) STRATEGY - Conduct tourism industry outreach activities for agri-tourism operators. Promote listings in the N.J. Office of Travel & Tourism’s “Calendar of Events”. Promote participation in “The 2007 New Jersey Governor’s Conference on Tourism”. Promote the use of the “Tourism Cooperative Grant Program” to organizations representing various facets of the New Jersey’s agri-tourism industry.
97) STRATEGY – Publicize and implement the recommendations of the recent Rutgers University study that examined farmers’ and farm leaders’ perceptions of the opportunities and challenges associated with agri-tourism. Support the upcoming National Agricultural Statistics Survey (NASS) study that will assess the variety of activities, the size of industry to determine the economic impact of agri-tourism upon the New Jersey economy.
98) STRATEGY– Continue to review, comment, and support work towards the adoption of agri-tourism Agricultural Management Practices (AMP’s) as proposed by the State Agriculture Development Committee. Compliance with the agri-tourism AMP’s will aid grower protection under the Right to Farm Act.