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Attracting Tourists

Meeting planned to discuss
Ag Tourism in Oldham County

Officials see new opportunities
to boost tourism

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

BUCKNER, Ky. (August 2012) – Oldham County producers are being sought for a new project to promote the county’s Agri-Tourism market. A variety of opportunities currently exist for expanding on what the county already offers and in terms of developing new attractions.
“We want to build on what someone has to offer,” said Traci Missun, Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent for the Oldham County Extension Office. At the moment, “we are trying to gauge interest and see exactly who is interested in participating so we can better understand how to support them.”
An Ag Tourism meeting is scheduled for noon Wednesday, Aug. 8, at the Oldham County Extension Office on Hwy. 393 in Buckner. “This will be an informal meeting,” to get the ball rolling, said Missun.
Oldham County Tourism Director Kim Buckler will speak about potential opportunities for farmers and gardeners in Oldham County. Buckler has been working on developing a new Agri-Tourism Region for Kentucky that includes counties along the I-71 Corridor.
She is interested in promoting interested participants and their farms for tours and/or visits. “There are so many things we can do,” said Buckler.
Buckler has been working on her idea slowly for the last four years. “There are some nice venues in the county already, and this would be a way to add more attractions,” she said.
“The thing I learned when coming into tourism was that no counties along the I-71 Corridor were included in Agri-Tourism,” she said. This concept is not new to her. Growing up on a 900-acre farm in Glendale, Buckler came from a strong 4-H background and showed Angus cattle.
She wants to “work with local farms to develop them into attractions,” she said. Earlier in the year, she partnered with Oldham Ahead to provide horse farm tours within Oldham County. As a result, tour companies contacted her to set up future horse farm tours, she said.
She said she hopes tourism will be allowed to plan the farm tours so they can be organized and provide many more things for visitors to do while in the county. Her role is “to organize it all and see to what extent each producer wants to be involved and promoted.”
The county already contains such agricultural and garden attractions as Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve, Foxhollow Farm, Windy Meadows Horse Farm, Hermitage Farm, and Bluebonnets & Bluegrass Alpaca Farm. The later attraction gives tours by appointment and shows visitors how to make yarn and use a loom to create clothing and accessories.
“This is agri-tourism at its finest,” said Buckler. “This is in a subdivision, not on a huge farm.”
Each participant will benefit “depending upon the type of tour the farm chooses,” Buckler said. She would also like to see some educational aspect related to the tours. One example might be to have seminars on biodynamic farming offered at Foxhollow Farm, since the farm follows these principles.
All of the above listed agricultural attractions have one thing in common, “all have outdoor appeal,” she said. “They focus on the outdoors and agricultural things. Agri-Tourism gets people off of the couch and outdoors.”
Ben Shaffar, director of Agri-Tourism and Kentucky Proud Equine Coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, will attend the meeting to answer questions about Oldham County becoming an attraction and about the Kentucky Proud program.
Interested participants are asked to RSVP by Aug. 3 for meeting and lunch reservations by contacting Kim Buckler at (502) 817-6043 or via email at Director@TourOldhamCounty.com or through Live Chat on the web at www.TourOldhamCounty.com.

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