Agritourism: People Will Come

I am a farm boy. Grew up on a what today would be a small farm. My summers and after-school hours were spent working on the farm. Days were long and there was always something to do. Putting up hay always happened around July 4th.

For most of my farming friends, this was a way of life yet few people ever came by to see what we were doing, well maybe the relatives. There was no reason as many had grown up farming or were closely connected with the people who worked the land such as a relative or family friend.

Making hay

Making Hay (CC) by Stephen, on Flickr

In my world, I couldn’t imagine getting people to come and pay money to load hay, shovel grain, feed cows, or just wander the farm.

Today, this has all changed. People are now looking for an experience, and agritourism experiences are capturing interest. For those of us old enough, we may remember the movie “City Slickers.” . Today, some of us want to relive those days or may be a desire to learn more about where our food comes from or to experience something our ancestors once did. For a third group, it is making connections with our history.

Visiting an agritourism operation

An agritourism experience (CC) Jessica Reeder, on Flickr

Agritourism can be a business opportunity. From pick-your-own to pumpkin patches and corn mazes to dude ranches to birding and wildlife to a bed and breakfast, all of these can be developed into a profitability venture. They can be near, or even in, the city but can also be well away from the beaten path.

Not only can such businesses be economic engines for the business owner but communities can also build around those efforts. Visitors will want to see other local sites, they are interested in local history and they want to spend money, for food, beverages, gas, souvenirs, etc. The community needs to be able and willing to offer those items as well as to help link agritourism and other business owners together as collaborators.

Now may be a great time for developing agritourism on your farm/ranch and in your community. They can be good business opportunities? It may not be right for everyone (do you want people on your farm or ranch?). It may be something to consider though if you are looking for new ways to use assets you already have.

You can get more help from your local Extension office. In terms of marketing, online marketing is so important today so check out: Marketing Agritourism Online

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Home-based Business Resources

Home office desktop Guest Blogger: Lisa Wedin, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

A home based business can be a way to support a hobby, earn a living or launch the next Apple or Martha Stewart empire. Not every business needs an office. There are a variety of businesses that can be started and ran at home. Eleven businesses you can start in your pajamas are detailed in this Inc. slideshow.

There are a variety of resource who can assist in setting up and running a home-based business. In addition to our Entrepreneurs and Their Communities effort , the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) are great federal resources. The IRS has tax information around running your business from home. For example the home office deduction just got simpler. Check it out here. The SBA has a wealth of information on all aspects of starting, managing and growing your business. A helpful article from their website on home based businesses can be found here. A home-based business might be a great fit for you.

Resources:

• Internal Revenue Service webpage of types of business structures http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Business-Structures
• Internal Revenue Service Small Business and Self-employment Tax Center http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed
• Small Business Administration page on starting and managing your business http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/starting-managing-business

Don’t forget to also check our ETC website, http://www.extension.org/entrepreneurship.

Extension Partners with Small Business – Oregon

Our eXtension community, Entrepreneurs and Their Communities, continues to highlight Small Business Week+. With land-grant universities across the country supporting small businesses and their development, we have lots of great small business partners to highlight. If you are thinking about starting a small business, stop in at your local Extension office.

Guest Blogger: Scott Leavengood, Director, Oregon Wood Innovation Center, Extension appointment

Need a bike helmet? Dan Coyle saw a niche, wooden bike helmets. The Oregon Wood innovation Center assisted him with impact testing of different materials and finding raw materials.

Read more Dan’s product at:http://www.corvallisadvocate.com/2012/treepieces-a-local-artisan-crafts-wooden-safety-helmets/

His website is: http://coyledesignandbuild.com/

wood bike helmet

Extension Partners with Small Business – Missouri

Our eXtension community, Entrepreneurs and Their Communities, continues to highlight Small Business Week+. With land-grant universities across the country supporting small businesses and their development, we have lots of great small business partners to highlight. If you are thinking about starting a small business, stop in at your local Extension office.

Guest Blogger: Kathy Macomber, Business Development Specialist, University of Missouri Extension

The Run Around

Picture of Erik The Run Around, LLC, owned by Erik Bartlett, is committed to being Joplin’s running and walking resource. His store is located in Joplin.

Erik focuses on providing personal service and an individual fitting process at The Run Around resulting in a customized experience for each customer. His work resulted in his receipt, in 2011, of the “Rising Star of Entrepreneurship” award from the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers (MO SBTDC).

In 2011, Erik also participated in the 2011 MO SBTDC Client Showcase held at the Capitol rotunda on January 26. Bartlett was presented with a legislative resolution from Senator Ron Richard (District 32). The Run Around, was one of twenty outstanding small businesses in Missouri who received the award sponsored by the MO SBTDC.

When Bartlett was first thinking of starting his company more than three years ago while still in college, he sought the advice of Kathy Macomber at the University of MissouriSmall Business and Technology Development Center to develop a business plan. That business plan was a key component in the loan process. The Run Around Running Company launched in April 2010 and has developed loyal customers in the running community in and around Joplin. Bartlett received assistance from the SBTDC in the areas of business start-up procedures, forms of business organization, writing a business plan, marketing methods, financial projections, and QuickBooks assistance.

Kathy Macomber, Business Development Specialist, provides business training and assistance in an eight-county region of southwest Missouri. “Erik Bartlett is a savvy young entrepreneur,” Macomber says. “He saw a need for a specialty running store in Joplin, and is successfully growing the business. He has created several new jobs, was able to purchase a building near his original leased location in which he recently moved the store.”

Running accessories and clothing, in addition to a wide selection of shoes, are available at the store which utilizes a gait analysis system and a digital foot scanner to provide a personalized shoe fitting process. The store organizes and supports local running events.

The Run Around is located at 422 S. Main Street in Joplin, Missouri. The phone number is (417)627-0057; and you can follow The Run Around, LLC on Facebook .

The Missouri Small Business and Technology Development Center Network is a non-profit partnership of the Small Business Administration, State of Missouri, University of Missouri Extension, and other state universities, organized to help small businesses succeed. For more information call Kathy Macomber at the Small Business and Technology Development Center (417) 682-3579.

Extension Partners with Small Business – Alaska

Our eXtension community, Entrepreneurs and Their Communities, continues to highlight Small Business Week+. With land-grant universities across the country supporting small businesses and their development, we have lots of great small business partners to highlight. If you are thinking about starting a small business, stop in at your local Extension office.

Guest Blogger: Kathryn Izdorek, University of Alaska-Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service

Market stand The Hapunan Shack

Marie Bridgewater has just begun her second season at the Fairbanks Downtown Market. With the assistance of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service, Marie has been able to successfully start her own small business selling Lumpia (Filipino egg rolls) at a food stand.

Extension was able to assist Marie by helping to navigate the process of becoming a small food business in the state of Alaska and providing a DEC permitable space for preparation of food products to take to market.

Come see Marie and try her egg rolls any Monday at the Fairbanks Downtown Market.

Marie’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/whatshapunan

Extension Partners with Small Business – Nebraska

From our eXtension community, Entrepreneurs and Their Communities, welcome to Small Business Week+. Extension supports small businesses and their development as a part of our land grant mission. For the next several days, we are going to highlight small businesses around that country that have partnered with us.

Guest Bloggers: Connie Hancock, Extension Educator, and Jim Crandall, Cooperative Business Development Specialist – Both work for University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension and bring us two examples of small business and UNL Extension partnerships.

Workshops for Aspiring Small Business Owners

The first example demonstrates how UNL Extension supports small business development and the individuals who are working to build those small businesses. Working with existing small business owners partners, Extension develops educational/support programs for new business owners who are developing their own business ideas. People are always interested in having a conversation and discussion with others who have faced some of the issues and hurdles they now are facing.
http://huskerpreneur.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/entrepreneurs-in-johnson-and-pawnee-counties-have-been-successful/

Elwood Hometown Cooperative Market Opens for Business!!

Outside of a food coop The loss of a grocery store in a rural community can be a devastating blow, especially when it is the only, or at least major, source of local groceries. Not only do people then have to travel farther and expend more time and money to get their groceries, but it can also be a serious blow to community pride and make it harder to attract new residents and businesses.

When the only grocery store in Elwood, Neb., closed in January of 2012, community leaders quickly responded, organizing a community meeting to consider opening a cooperatively owned grocery store. Jim Crandall of the UNL Nebraska Cooperative Development Center (NCDC) was the primary speaker at this first meeting, to explain the concept of community ownership as a cooperative. The meeting attracted more than 100 people, almost all of whom felt that a grocery store was vital to the future of their community. Prior to and following the initial meeting, community leaders developed and distributed a survey to gauge interest in opening a co-op grocery store. The community response showed widespread support for the concept. A committed, hard-working steering committee was formed to begin the process of studying the feasibility of a grocery store, the cooperative business model, and creating pro-forma financials.

The 10 member steering committee formed subcommittees that focused on facilities, business and finance issues, and incorporation options with NCDC providing guides and outlines for each subgroup. Expert advice was sought from a local attorney, insurance agents, former store owners, neighboring stores and managers of grain co-ops in nearby towns (one grain co-op also owned a grocery store). Ideas were also sought from cooperative accountants, area economic developers and grocery suppliers. A financial plan was developed for remodeling the store, and progress and information was shared at two more community-wide meetings. All indications still showed continued support for opening the new grocery store.

The steering committee received a small grant from the NCDC to help with organizational costs such as attorney fees, brochure printings, and mailings. The committee met weekly or bi-weekly as a group, with subcommittees meeting at additional times to move the process forward quickly.

The cooperative was incorporated in May 2012 as the Elwood Hometown Cooperative Market. The steering committee, now Board of Directors, conducted a membership drive to capitalize the new business allowing them to purchase and remodel the former store location, hire a manager and purchase the inventory. Over 140 people bought ownership shares in the cooperative and new members are still being added to the ownership base. Coop members, Board members, and other volunteers were involved in the remodeling of the store, installing coolers, freezers and shelving. Board members, coop members, and volunteers scanned inventory and stocked all the shelves in preparation for opening. The Market has been advertising their opening locally and through social media with their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ElwoodHometownCooperativeMarket.

The Elwood Hometown Cooperative Market celebrated their official “soft” opening on February 3rd with a preview of the new store for coop members and donors. The store opened for business to the general public on Monday, February 4th. The market plans to have a Grand Opening this spring to include a ribbon cutting and additional activities.

Extension Partners with Small Business – Ohio

From our eXtension community, Entrepreneurs and Their Communities, welcome to Small Business Week+. Extension supports small businesses and their development as a part of our land grant mission. For the next several days, we are going to highlight small businesses around that country that have partnered with us.

Guest Blogger: Louis (Brian) Raison, The Ohio State University Extension

Stone’s Throw Market Co-op

Food coop sign about values Neighbors, farmers and local organizations collaborated in a grassroots effort to organize and establish a new cooperative grocery in Miami County, Ohio. The Stone’s Throw Foods Project was incubated through the leadership of two full-time organizers, Laura Hanson and Jake Schlachter. In February 2010, they established a pilot online grocery to support the organizing process. OSU Extension assisted with early board and co-op development background work. The online grocery kept $52,000 circulating in the local and state economies that year.

In 2011, the co-op leadership transitioned as Laura left for grad school. OSU Extension was called in to assist the still nascent organization with transitioning issues, mission and vision work, strategic action steps, board development, annual meeting plans, and marketing.

The Market has now kept over $150,000 circulating in the local and state economy and boasts nearly 200 member-owners. It collaborates with several dozen local farms and businesses. Local vendors earn an average of 65 cents per dollar which is more than the national average. More information is available online at: http://www.stonesthrow.coop/ or contact Brian Raison, OSU Extension, Miami County at raison.1@osu.edu

Photo – USDA.gov, Flickr, CC