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INDUSTRY TRENDS

  • 28 Apr 2020 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Will your entertainment or cultural venue be ready for the post-lockdown guests?
    White Hutchinson
    The consumer for out-of-home entertainment, cultural and other leisure experiences that emerges after the lockdown will be different than the consumer we knew just two months ago. A heightened concern for safety from disease is one of the many ways their behaviors and expectations will have changed. The effects of epidemics extend long term after they are over.

  • 21 Apr 2020 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Celebrate the 2020 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival with these stunning virtual tours
    Country Living
    The popular Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, which usually draws millions of flower lovers to its hundreds of acres of vibrant tulip fields in Mount Vernon, Washington, was originally scheduled for April 1 though April 30. In lieu of in-person visits, some of the participating tulip farms are now offering absolutely stunning photographs, videos, and even virtual tours of the rows and rows of colorful flowers on display.

  • 14 Apr 2020 2:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Family Owned ... Locally Grown - Savor the Stress!

    Our farming industry is ripe with family-based businesses. Insights and ideas that have been passed down through the vines linking one generation to the next become the new innovations of our industry for the future.

    As our businesses age and mature, and as our next generation of family members begins to do the same, it is a fine time to re-evaluate our present, revisit our past and recommit to the future.

  • 31 Mar 2020 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Virtual tastings help Texas wineries connect amid coronavirus
    Austin 360
    One of the simplest, most fundamental ways that people can connect is over the dinner table with food and drink. And in these next few weeks, as an increasing number of cities and states in the U.S. issue shelter-in-place orders amid the coronavirus pandemic, such connection is going to be more essential than ever, Kuhlman Cellars founder Chris Cobb says. Located along U.S. 290 on the way to Fredericksburg, Kuhlman shut down its tasting room the night before Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the closure of bars and restaurant dining rooms statewide last week.

  • 27 Mar 2020 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Officials: Nevada's agritourism industry has plenty of room to grow
    Northern Nevada Business Weekly
    The Nevada Farms Conference recently wrapped up a successful event in Fallon, providing tours and discussions from area businesses about improving farming techniques and marketing agritourism across the Silver State. While many workshops and discussions catered to specific audiences, the city of Fallon, along with other professionals in marketing, presented information on the agritourism industry. Jane Moon, the city's director of Tourism and Special Events, said agritourism in Nevada is like a small community.

  • 27 Mar 2020 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Farm Bureau's Agricultural Safety Awareness Program (ASAP) Week, with its theme "20:20 Vision on Ag Safety" takes place this week, March 1-7.

    Farm Bureau and U.S. Ag Centers will focus on a different safety area each day of ASAP Week:
    • Monday, March 2 – Mental Health
    • Tuesday, March 3 – Transportation Safety
    • Wednesday, March 4 – Weather Disasters
    • Thursday, March 5 – Confined Spaces
    • Friday, March 6 – Farmer Wellness
    Check out the following links for important safety information, promotional ideas, and how to get involved.

    https://www.fb.org/events/2020-ag-safety-awareness-program-week/

    https://www.kfb.org/Article/File/get?path=Files%2Farticle-174890%2F2020-ASAP-Week-Promotional-Toolkit.pdf

  • 24 Mar 2020 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    The fight to keep farmers' markets open during coronavirus
    Civil Eats
    At the downtown Berkeley Farmers' Market last Saturday, shoppers showed up in droves, despite the cold, rainy weather. There were no samples, no musicians, and most vendors were wearing gloves. Many sold everything they had, which is unusual for March, when the fruit is scant and many of the farms bring the same arrays of greens, root vegetables, and onions.
  • 10 Mar 2020 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    State leaders collaborate to promote agricultural-based tourism
    WBRZ-TV
    Louisiana is home to about 30,000 farms and Dr. Mike Strain, the state's Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry is determined to draw more out-of-state visitors to these farms and other tourist attractions. Dr. Strain is collaborating with Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser to promote state agritourism via a series of videos that will appear in various websites and on social media platforms.
  • 29 Aug 2019 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Essentials of Hayride Safety

    By Randy White

    Hayrides are a popular and enjoyable attraction for visitors at agritainment/agritourism farms as well as at many other entertainment facilities such as family entertainment centers and parks in the Fall. However, hay wagon rides can be extremely dangerous if not operated safely. Our research shows that since the year 2000, hayride accidents have caused 167 injuries and the death of at least 22 people including 14 children.

    Over our company's 25 years of agritourism/agritainment consulting and design work, we have visited very few existing farm operations that were safely operating their hayrides. We have always made it our first priority to advise our clients on needed improvements to make their hayrides safe. And fortunately, most followed our advice, making a visit to their farms much safer.

    Here's a summary of essential safety procedures every farm or venue that operates a hayride should follow:

    • The hayride route should have non-climbable barricade-type fencing along its route wherever it is in or near areas where visitors will be so there is no possibility of anyone, especially children, wandering into the path of the hayride. At the loading and unloading areas, the fencing should have gates that are operated only by the loading/unloading staff. The hayride path should NEVER cross or travel through any areas that the public has access to.
    • The loading area should have a sign stating the safety rules for passengers.
    • Separate unloading and loading areas. To speed loading, the loading area can have a corral fenced area where the number of visitors the wagon ride can hold are pre-counted into.

    • The hayride trail should be kept smooth as depressions and ruts can cause wagons to grab hold and jerk, bouncing guests around. All trees and bushes along the trail need to be trimmed so riders won't be hit by branches.
    • Tractors and hay wagons should be thoroughly inspected at the beginning of each day. There should be written inspection check list where the drivers check off each item and sign and date the sheet. This helps assure the procedures will be properly followed.
    • All wagons must have a safety chain connecting the wagon's front axle to the tractor's draw bar or rear axle.
    • For adequate traction and braking, the tractor pulling the hayride must weigh more than the gross weight of the wagon it pulls when full of people.
    • The hay wagon must have railings and seating. Enclosure railings should be designed to prevent children from crawling through or climbing the railings. The front railing must be adequately tall and sturdy to prevent anyone from falling forward out of the wagon and being run over. The loading opening on the wagon should have a gate or enclosure that is kept shut other than when loading or unloading.
    • Training is essential for all staff involved. All tractor drivers should be trained in the operation of the tractor they will be driving, including how to properly start and stop smoothly. Just because an employee knows how to drive a tractor does not mean they understand how to drive a hay wagon ride. All employees who will be responsible for loading, unloading and supervising hayrides must also be trained. There should be a pocket size checklist of all procedures that each staff member keeps with them.
    • All wagons should have a tour guide riding in the wagon who has two-way radio communicate with the tractor driver. Tractor noise prevents a driver from hearing anything shouted from the wagon if there is a problem.
    • Tractors should have rear view mirrors that give a full view of the wagon.
    • There should be well-organized loading and unloading procedures.
    • Only after the tractor comes to a stop in the unloading area, is put in neutral and the brake engaged, should the unloading staff open the wagon gate and assist people off.
    • Once a wagon is unloaded, the unloading staff should close the barricade exiting gate, the wagon should be inspected for lost items, the tire inflation on the wagons and tractor eyeballed, the area around and under the wagon inspected to make sure there are no people or children, and only then should the tractor driver be signaled to proceed to the loading area.
    • The barricade gate at the loading area should not be opened until the tractor is at a full stop, put in neutral and the brakes engaged.
    • Once the wagon is loaded, the barricade loading gate should be closed, the wagon gate should be closed, safety instructions recited to the riders, riders checked to make sure all are seated, the area around and under the wagon inspected to make sure there are no people or children, the pins and safety chains on the wagons checked and only then should the tractor driver be signaled to proceed.
    • Ideally communication between the loading and unloading staff and the driver should be via two-way radio communication. Otherwise, the driver's go-signal should be one that is visual, crystal clear and not mistakable.
    • Public road travel should be avoided. If absolutely necessary, there should be escort vehicles with proper safety lighting at the lead and following the wagon. In 1989 in New Brunswick, Canada, 13 wagon riders died and 45 were injured when a logging trailer crashed into a hayride. In 2016 in Chucky, Mississippi, three people were killed when a pickup truck rear-ended a hay wagon traveling on a public road.
    • Due to the hazardous nature of hayrides, children's field trip hayrides should have higher adult to child ratios than for the classroom. The following are recommended:

    Hayrides are a great fun attraction for visitors. Just make sure you take the time and effort to operate yours safely.

  • 28 Aug 2019 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Agritourism Risk Tops Concerns at Lawmaker Tour

    By Tom Venesky

    Insurance costs are a major headache for agritourism operations, farmer Chris Maylath told local lawmakers this week.

    Tuesday’s farm tour at Maylath Farm & Orchard was organized by the Luzerne County Farm Bureau.

    Maylath raises produce and grass-fed beef, and runs a fall agritourism program that includes a corn maze, pumpkin patch and hay rides.

    The agritainment business is booming — Maylath recently expanded his parking area from 1 acre to 5 — but liability has become a major hurdle.

    “We’ve even had claims for tick bites,” he said. “One year kids were throwing corn and one got hit in the eye with a cob. I called the insurance company just to let them know, and the company called the parents to start settling. There wasn’t even a claim filed. How do you stop that?”

    Maylath thinks his insurance costs are high in part because not many insurers offer coverage for agritourism ventures.

    A bill in the state Senate would protect farm owners from lawsuits when no party is at fault for the injury or damages. Farmers would still be liable if they are grossly negligent.

    About half of U.S. states have laws that shift the assumption of risk from the operator to the participant, according to Peggy Hall, an ag law specialist at Ohio State University.

    “We’ve heard about these issues,” said Senate Majority Whip John Gordner, R-Berwick. “Agritourism is a huge help to so many farmers, and it’s also a benefit to the public from an educational standpoint.”

    Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre, minority-party chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, offered to organize a meeting between legislators, insurance companies and trial lawyers to find a solution.

    “We need to get a fair price for agritourism insurance and make sure it’s balanced so the business is protected and the customer isn’t taken advantage of,” he said.

    Another big vulnerability for Maylath is uninsurable crops, such as pumpkins.

    If the crop fails, the farmer comes up empty even though the fertilizer and chemical companies need to get paid.

    “I’m a schoolteacher off the farm, and my goal was to get out at some point and come back to the farm,” Maylath said. “The problem is agriculture is such a gamble.”

    Pashinski floated the idea of a state fund to aid farmers in bad years.

    “Every business has some form of financial backup,” Pashinski said. “The difference between profit and loss management on a farm is so tight, the state has to help them stay in business during a difficult year.”

    Pashinski hasn’t introduced or even drafted a bill to the effect, but he did suggest the program could be funded by a fee paid by whomever is buying a product from a farmer.

    The money could be used to fund low-interest loans or grants to farmers.

    During the tour, farmers also said they’d like more information about grant offerings, improvements to deer control programs, and more USDA-inspected meat processors to serve direct-marketing farms.

    Several farmers said they would be interesting in growing hemp but aren’t sure it makes sense yet.

    “There are no processing facilities here,” said Keith Hilliard, the county Farm Bureau president. “You grow the crop, but where is it going?”

    Pashinski said the ag committee has been in contact with several processors interested in locating in Pennsylvania, but the businesses are still waiting on federal approval.

    The county Farm Bureau was encouraged by officials interested in the farm tour, and is planning future tours to keep the dialogue going.

    “We have people in office willing to help us,” said Martin Smith, the county Farm Bureau vice president.



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