The nation’s foremost agritourism convention is coming to Indiana in 2019, announced Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch.
Hosted by the Indiana Office of Tourism Development, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and Hamilton County Tourism, the North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association convention will take place Feb. 1-7, 2019, and consist of educational sessions, workshops, a business exchange and farm tours around the state. Agritourism operators attend NAFDMA to get critical tools, tips and information to help them better market and grow their businesses. Their membership is composed of u-pick fruit and vegetable farms, wineries, farmer’s markets, destination dairies, tree farms and the like.
“We are excited to welcome NAFDMA to the Hoosier State,” said Crouch. “I’m privileged to serve as Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development and oversee the Office of Tourism Development, and [this] announcement emphasizes the value we place on this sector. Agritourism is a vital part of our state’s economy and appeal and we look forward to the opportunity to host the 2019 convention.”
NAFDMA is a membership-based association dedicated to advancing farm direct marketing and the agritourism industry. As the association’s flagship event, the annual convention will take place at the soon-to-open Embassy Suites Conference Center in Noblesville and bring together agritourism operators from all over the United States and Canada.
“Given our rich agricultural heritage and the rise in demand for experiential travel among consumers, we recognize the tremendous growth potential of agritourism and believe our state is well-positioned to deliver unique farm-based and food-based experiences,” said Mark Newman, IOTD’s executive director. “After attending the 2016 conference and engaging in extensive conversations with staff and board members, it became clear that NAFDMA and Indiana’s priorities aligned. Activities that bring authentic local flavor experiences and working landscape experiences to consumers are important to both of us.”
In an effort to ensure members get a glimpse of businesses located all over North America the convention moves to a different region each year. Last year over 400 NAFDMA members attended the convention in Mystic, Connecticut. The 2018 convention will be held in Orange County, California.
“NAFDMA’s decision to choose Indiana, and Hamilton County, for its 2019 meeting underscores what a player the state and Central Indiana are in agritourism,” said Brenda Myers, president/CEO of Hamilton County Tourism. “Central Indiana is home to a number of agriculturally-themed attractions that pay tribute to our state’s heritage. We are thrilled this prestigious group will bring some of the nation’s biggest and best agritourism operators to the state for sharing.”
According to ISDA, Indiana has more than 300 farms across the state that engage in some form of agritourism.