Agritourism classes start soon in Sacramento, Merced and San Diego

Oct 17, 2012

Bringing in visitors for a dinner in a barn is one form of agritourism.
The University of California Cooperative Extension is working with county farm bureaus, tourism professionals, local farmers and other partners to offer three-session hands-on agritourism planning courses for farmers and ranchers who are considering, starting or expanding agritourism or nature tourism businesses on their farms or ranches.

The “Agritourism Intensive” classes will be held in Sacramento, Merced and San Diego; farmers and ranchers from these and surrounding counties are invited to register and attend.

“Many local growers are considering adding farm stands, U-Pick operations, farm stays and other activities for visitors’ enjoyment and education in order to increase revenue and connect with their communities. Our workshops will give farmers and ranchers the contacts and tools to more successfully grow their agritourism enterprises,” said Maxwell Norton, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Merced and Mariposa counties.

Participants will learn about the variety of potential agritourism businesses, including wineries, farm stands, U-pick operations, event hosting, ranch vacations, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, festivals and outdoor recreation. Each participant will receive a free copy of the second edition of the comprehensive handbook, “Agritourism and Nature Tourism in California”, which will be used as a text for the class. 

Attendees will hear from experienced agritourism operators, as well as experts in business planning, risk management, regulatory compliance and marketing. They will participate in networking discussions and will receive individual guidance as they plan and develop their own agritourism or nature tourism businesses.

The three-session course is $50 per person, including the text book and lunch at each session. For more information, contact Penny Leff, UCCE agritourism coordinator,, (530) 752-7779.

Sacramento Class

Thursdays, Nov. 15, Jan. 17, and Feb. 21, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at UCCE Sacramento County, 4145 Branch Center Road, Sacramento.

To register for the Sacramento class, go to

Merced Class

Mondays, Dec. 3 and Jan. 7. and Tuesday, Feb. 12, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at UCCE Merced County, 2145 Wardrobe Avenue, Merced.

To register for the Merced class, go to

San Diego Class

Wednesdays, Dec. 5., Jan. 9 and Feb 6, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at San Diego County Farm Bureau, 1670 East Valley Parkway, Escondido.

To register for the San Diego class, go to

Funding for this project was provided by the Washington State University Western Center for Risk Management Education and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

By Penny Leff
Author - Agritourism Coordinator/Public Education Specialist