Alleghany, Ashe and Watauga counties: Richard
Boylan, an Extension alternative crops specialist said the Alternative
Program of the New
River Headwaters highlights each farm’s unique attributes to help
clients tap this potential source of profit. “Once farmers find
their agritourism niche,” he said, “they’ll be eligible
to be featured in the ‘HandMade Holiday’ package
weekends and tours.”
Madison County: A
$75,000 Golden LEAF-funded project and other grants help increase
market opportunities for farmers diversifying operations
through alternative crop production and value-added enterprises
and provides business planning, marketing and management training.
The grants helped develop a Web site, www.madisonfarms.org, “a vital tool
for marketing agri-tourism,” said Ross Young, Cooperative Extension
director for Madison County.
Various western counties: Sue
Counts, Cooperative Extension director for Watauga County, sits on
29-member board of directors, as do Marilyn Cole, retired area specialized
agent for Buncombe County and Mary
Extension director for the Cherokee Reservation and current N.C. Arts
Council board member.
Cherokee Reservation: Rob Hawk, Extension’s sole tourism
agent, and the Cherokee Preservation Foundation acquired about
$200,000 for the Qualla
and Crafts Cooperative, to revitalize Cherokee crafts and preserve
the natural resources like white oak used in those crafts.
Dr. Jeanine Davis, head of the N.C. Specialty Crops Program, received
a $750,000 Golden LEAF grant to help set up bramble crops such as blackberries,
vegetables and other alternative crops.
Kathy Kennel, N.C. Agricultural Foundation Inc.’s executive director,
helped obtain $198,000 for tobacco farmers and tobacco-dependent communities
diversification and agritourism infrastructure such as fences, walkways,
bathrooms and signs from the Tobacco Trust Commission.
Surry, Yadkin and other northern counties offer winery tours, which
dovetail nicely with bed-and-breakfast farmhouse stays.
Anson, Richmond, Montgomery and Moore counties: Boosted by a $24,000
Golden LEAF grant, representatives visited three successful agritourism
enterprises to get
a sense of the possibilities. Their Web site, www.sandhillsagriculture.com,
lists local farmers markets and stands, special events and scenic