Agritourism is tantamount to agribusiness in South Carolina… And it is getting to be bigger business all the time. The Pee Dee Agritourism Initiative is aimed at making it grow even faster, creating more opportunities for farmer profits in the process.
Holly Young Beaumier, director of the Florence Convention and Visitors Bureau in Florence, S.C. is also the chairperson for the Coordinating Committee for the Tourism Product Development in the Pee Dee Area.
"Our effort began early this year to gather all the farmers together into a farmers association geared toward agritourism, specifically working in connection with Clemson Extension out of Horry County (in the Conway and Myrtle Beach area)," she says.
"Clemson University is taking care of the organizational elements including the database and website collection of homepages," Beaumier adds. "My side of it is the marketing of all the events that are happening at all these different sites."
The initiative, funded by a USDA Rural Development Grant in a process conceived and written up by Horry County Extension agent Blake Landford, is already driving public attention toward agritourism sites. A brochure called Let's Get Ag-Cited! was developed for Spring 2010 to promote highlighted events like May 7-9 Darlington Race Weekend Farmers Market Event. Held in conjunction with the Southern 500 NASCAR race, the Race Weekend Farmers Market Event added selling points to both the race and to farmers' products at the nearby farmers market, including flowers and farmer-branded food items.
Additional events promoted by the brochure include the May 15, Strawberry Festival held by McLeod Farms on Hwy 151 in McBee. And a Wine Tasting will be featured on May 22 at Hyman Vineyards, 6027 Old Bucksville Road in Conway.
But now a new brochure is currently being published that will focus on more fun events throughout the rest of the year. The new Ag-Cite-Ment brochure will focus on 26 new events in the Pee Dee between June and December 2010, promoting farm products and events all the way into the holidays.
We'll have more about the The Pee Dee Agritourism Initiative in the July issue of Carolina-Virginia Farmer. Make sure to check it out.
Another site where you can learn more about South Carolina agritourism includes: http://www.clemson.edu/public/ciecd/focus_areas/agribusiness/programs/agritourism/
And be sure to check out the blog for the The Pee Dee Agritourism Association, featuring Lanford's ruminations on Pee Dee agritourism. The blog can be found at http://www.peedeeagritourism.blogspot.com/