From left to right: Robert Grisso, associate director of agriculture and natural resources for Virginia Cooperative Extension; Tyler Wegmeyer; Harriet Wegmeyer; and James Hilleary, unit coordinator and agriculture and natural resources Extension agent, Loudoun County
Virginia Cooperative Extension has recognized Tyler Wegmeyer of Wegmeyer Farms in Loudoun County, Virginia, as the 2016 Virginia Farmer of the Year. He joins nine other state winners as finalists for the Swisher Sweets / Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year Award which will be announced on Oct. 18 at the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Ag Expo farm show in Moultrie, Georgia.
Wegmeyer currently operates a diversified 250-acre fruit and vegetable farm. The farm consists of three u-pick strawberry locations, four u-pick pumpkin locations, a vegetable CSA, and a large separate agritourism farm. In addition to direct consumer sales, he also sells wholesale to grocery store chains and nursery retailers along the East Coast.
His agriculture leadership roles include serving on the boards of the Virginia Strawberry Association, Southern States Cooperative, Loudoun County Heritage Farm Museum, and as the past president of the Loudoun County Farm Bureau.
“We are so pleased that farming operations like Wegmeyer Farms call Virginia home,” said Bobby Grisso, associate director of agriculture and natural resources for Virginia Cooperative Extension. “Tyler Wegmeyer has a unique perspective he can draw from his experience as both a policymaker and a farmer.”
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Over 50 speakers will deliver dynamic, relevant, and interactive presentations on opportunities and challenges for agritourism entrepreneurs April 5 and 6.
Economic development staff and government leaders will gather to explore innovative strategies for promoting tourism activities in the agricultural sector on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 5-6, at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in Halifax, Virginia. The event is co-sponsored by Virginia Cooperative Extension.
Participants can register online for the conference before Friday, March 25, for a one day cost of $95 or both days for $135.
Over 50 speakers will deliver dynamic, relevant, and interactive presentations on opportunities and challenges for agritourism entrepreneurs. Participants will explore agritourism topics including weddings, concerts, social media promotion, marketing, hospitality, regional networks, zoning and conservation, financing and legal structures, wineries and farm craft breweries, bed and breakfast, food and farm safety, farm workforce, and businesses planning.
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Tourism is the second-highest revenue-generating industry in the commonwealth, contributing $21.2 billion to the state’s economy.
From pick-your-own strawberry operations and winery tasting rooms to pumpkin patch fields and cut-your-own Christmas tree farms, agritourism is growing in the commonwealth and across the country. A recent statewide study by Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension found that visiting farms is not just a pleasant way for consumers to leisurely spend a Sunday — it’s also a viable way for farmers to supplement their income.
The study defines agritourism as a value-added activity that generates additional net farm income and creates a loyal consumer base for branded farm products.
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A recent Virginia Tech study found that agritourism, from pick-your-own apple orchards to pumpkin patches, can help boost profits.
BLACKSBURG, Va., Feb. 11, 2015 – From pick-your-own strawberry operations and winery tasting rooms to pumpkin patch fields and cut-your-own Christmas tree farms, agritourism is growing in the commonwealth and across the country. A recent statewide study by Virginia Tech found that it’s not just a pleasant way to spend a Sunday — it’s also a viable way for farmers to supplement their income.
The commonwealth’s top two industries, agriculture and tourism, were evaluated using a survey-based study by a team from Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciencesand Virginia Cooperative Extension.
In Virginia, both the number of midsize farms and the revenue of those farms have been declining. The study found that agritourism could be a viable option for farm managers to diversify and augment income.
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