Agritourism is a win-win for everyone

Published 10:33 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2007

In Idaho they have potato museums. In Florida tourists come to see alligator farms. And in the wild, wild west you can browse saloon setups.

It’s a common sense marketing tool — use what you have. Nearly every part of our country offers something different from the other parts. It’s that unique something that can draw tourists from miles and oceans away to Podunk, USA.

So, why not charge admission, stock the gift shops and share our knowledge at the entrances to local farms?

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Agritourism isn’t really a word, but it could be the next booming business in this neck of the woods. It turns out those living north of the good ole Mason Dixon line may not know the basics about a cotton field, yet they are ready to learn.

Frogmore Plantation just outside of Ferriday is already offering agriculture tours of its facilities. They let the tourists hand pick the cotton and they show them the way it used to be before modern farming technology took over.

The fact is farming, as many older Southerners know it, isn’t farming at all anymore.

It’s history.

And history sells.

Agritourism is a win-win for all parties. Local farms and the community at large will benefit from the visitors and their pocketbooks, and in turn, our farming experts will help educate the world in the ways of the South.

The Miss-Lou Rural Tourism Association — a group formed in August — had their thinking caps on, and we hope everyone in the area will help promote the newest form of tourism.

Tourism is our largest industry and it’s past time that we started considering new ways to ride the old pony.