BARTON COUNTY — In an effort to promote tourism and to bring that added economic benefit to the area, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Tourism and the Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau are looking for agricultural operations, including cow-calf that will offer tours of their farm.
“We’re looking for anything that has a unique flavor or offers an authentic experience in an agricultural setting,” said Cris Collier, director of the Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau. “People that like the nature based tourism will like the agri-tourism. It is the same market.
“It’s building on this people can do that would keep them in the area longer,” Collier added. She suggested such things as a pumpkin patch, growing produce for the farmer’s market, an orchard, or dairy farm.
“The tourists can help tend to the animals,” she said. The owner is free to charge a reasonable tour fee.
Sue Stringer, state byway liaison, said, Agri-tourism “Educates people what farmers go though. I don’t think people in metro areas have any idea of what they do to stay in business. It’s a great thing to be able to share with everybody.”
Stringer grew up on a farm, and knows the obstacles farmers face. She said agri-tourism will give farmers a revenue source when the weather ruins the crops.
“Farmers need a business that helps diversify income,” Stringer said.
The state of Kansas has developed a web site, www.kansasagritourism.com, for registration. There is no charge for registering.
Stringer said that eventually the agri-tourism web site will be merged into the state’s regular tourism web site, and will be available for farmers to update with offerings.
In addition, the GBCVB is also compiling a list. Call 792-2750 for more information.