Fifty people attended the Agritourism Conference: Preserving Our Rural Sense of Place held at Stone Harbor Resort on April 5 to learn how farmers can use tourism to improve farm profits. The Clean Water Action Council and the Wisconsin Farmers Union presented the conference as one of their efforts to help farmers be economically successful while being good stewards of the land. The Door Property Owners, Inc., The Door County Environmental Council, and The Door County Visitor Bureau sponsored the event.
Wisconsin Agricultural Tourism Association President David Meuer was the keynote speaker and the presenter of Group Tours and Motor Coach trips. He used his multiple award-winning 150-acre farm in Chilton, Wis., as an example of how people will travel great distances to have the on-the-farm experiences that his family offers.
Attorney Rachel Armstrong provided guidance on local zoning issues and resources, and she shared concerns about liability and insurance. Kat Becker from Stoney Acres Farm shared her farm’s success with on-the-farm pizza events in which they produce most of their own pizza ingredients and then host more than 100 guests on “pizza nights.”
The conference included presentations from some Door County residents. Dick and Gretchen Regnery from Whitefish Bay Farm Bed and Breakfast shared their story of developing their agritourism business. Ron Schweigert discussed the history of his Flying Tractor Farm and the process of seeking organic farm certification.
Participants were provided a buffet luncheon of food from local farmers, which was coordinated by Trust Local Foods.