Indiana Lands Major Agritourism Convention

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(photo courtesy North American Farmers' Direct Marketing Association Inc.) (photo courtesy North American Farmers' Direct Marketing Association Inc.)

Central Indiana will host what tourism officials call the nation's foremost agritourism convention in 2019. The North American Farmers' Direct Marketing Association Inc. convention will take place in Noblesville. IOTD Executive Director Mark Newman says, for a state that prides itself on its agricultural appeal, hosting the event is in Indiana's wheelhouse.

The conference will be held at the Embassy Suites conference Center, which is currently under construction.

NAFDMA is a trade association aimed at advancing farm direct marketing and agritourism. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Newman said the state is full of the types of entities that engage in some form of agritourism who could benefit from Indiana hosting the annual event. 

"We think it's a tremendous opportunity for farmers, those aspiring to enter the agritourism or culinary tourism space to really gain some great insight," said Newman. "We also think it's a terrific opportunity for us to showcase some of our finer assets as well as to bring to Indiana some of those operators from around the country that really operate the shining stars of the industry."

Newman cites places like Fair Oaks Farms, Huber Winery in southern Indiana, and Traders Point Creamery in central Indiana as examples of the types of assets Indiana has to offer. He says the state will schedule a series of tours for those coming to Indiana for the convention to see some of those assets.

"My expectation is that Indiana will emerge from this as a thought leader for the industry," Newman said. "I think we have a very special and significant place in that today, but this will only enhance it further."

More than 400 NAFDMA members attended the most recent convention, which was held in Connecticut. The 2018 convention will take place in Orange County, California. The 2019 event is being hosted by the IOTD, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and Hamilton County Tourism. 

"Agriculture is part of our state’s identity and legacy, which is why we're thrilled to host the nation's foremost agritourism convention in Indiana in 2019," ISDA Interim Director Melissa Rekeweg said in a statement. "Our agritourism destinations continue to bring together farmers and countless families across the U.S., and having this convention in Indiana not only allows us to showcase these operations, but also discover new ways to grow this important sector of our rural economy."

Earlier this year the IOTD and the ISDA announced a collaboration aimed at making Indiana an agritourism and culinary tourism destination. Newman appeared on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick in March to talk about the effort, which you can watch by clicking here.

Newman says the state is full of agritourism assets that could benefit from the convention.
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