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Agritourism Manual Helps California Farmers Grow Economically

The Issue

A 1999 survey of California farm operators revealed a growing need for materials on two increasingly profitable industries: agritourism and nature tourism. Farmers and ranchers have heretofore lacked a centralized resource for obtaining such materials, in a time when opportunities abound for tourist ventures to take root.

What Has ANR Done?

The UC Agriculture and Nature Tourism Workgroup had a goal: to produce a comprehensive manual, providing information on starting, maintaining and expanding an agritourism or nature-tourism venture. The result is a 250-page manual covering such myriad topics as assessing one's business, marketing and promotion, employee management and relations, regulatory compliance, and business-plan development. Widely considered the definitive guide for California agritourism and nature tourism, the manual is currently being used by several organizations involved with economic development in the state's rural and agriculturally depressed regions.

Completed in 2002, the UC manual sold out in only six months. However, an updated, fall 2005 edition is currently available, published by ANR. To order Agritourism and Nature Tourism in California online, visit: http://www.sfc.ucdavis.edu.

The Payoff

UC Workshops are seeds for start-ups

The UC Workgroup has trained over 900 farm operators across California in diversifying their businesses with tourism. Using the UC manual as a guiding tool, ranchers and farmers in diverse communities are taking preliminary steps toward embarking on new tourist ventures.

Clientele Testimonial

Workshop attendees rave about the UC manual as a resource for tourist business planning. One participant from a 2004 workshop in Paso Robles says, "Chapter Two on 'Assessing Your Potential' really helped my husband and me refine our vision and get started. It made us aware of ALL the components that must be addressed." Another participant from a 2003 workshop in Reedley says, "I used the information in the manual to prepare my expansion and my plan to meet with county staff, before I submit an application."


Supporting Unit: Marin County

Ellie Rilla — erilla@ucdavis.edu
Holly George — hageorge@ucdavis.edu