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Workshop for farmers interested in tourists set at Edinburg Mill

By Sally Voth svoth@nvdaily.com

Farmers looking to expand into the agribusiness industry may be interested in an upcoming workshop in Edinburg.

The Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission is putting on "Agritourism in a Creative Economy" along with Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Virginia Tourism Corp. on Sept. 19 at the Edinburg Mill.

The $12 workshop will feature possibilities in the agritourism industry, liability issues, the use of marketing and social media strategies, customer service, stories from those in the business and a lunch made from local foods, according to a news release from the planning district commission.

A similar workshop was held in Staunton in April, Erin Yancey, a regional planner with the commission, said on Wednesday. She said more workshops are hoped for in the future, with the possibility of putting some online.

"We think that may be more accessible to more farmers," Yancey said.

She said the workshop is geared to those thinking about expanding their farming operation to include farm visitors, and to those who already have and want to learn strategies to become more successful.

The release cites craft beer brewing, barnyard visits and offering cheese made on-site at a dairy as examples of agritourism.

Yancey said the program is part of the commission's Fields of Gold Agritourism Initiative.

"We're trying to facilitate that extra revenue to keep agriculture strong," Yancey said.

To register, call Yancey at 885-5174, or email her at erin@cspdc.org. For more information, visit www.cspdc.org/fieldsofgold.

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