The Vermont Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce a partnership with the Vermont Farms Association (VFA) to promote agritourism and bring income to Vermont farms. Recently, the Vermont Chamber signed a three-year management contract with the VFA to provide administrative, accounting and marketing assistance along with various other duties. The VFA, which promotes farm visits, stays, and educational programs, has gained national attention as the leader in the Vermont agritourism industry.Duane Marsh, Vermont Chamber President, noted, “Agritourism is not just about tourism, it is about economic development. Agritourism is a growing, dynamic and important part of Vermont’s business economy. We are happy to help support the Vermont economy by bringing business to our valuable family farms.”Beth Kennett, President of the Vermont Farms Association, stated We are delighted that the Vermont Chamber of Commerce has stepped up to help align agritourism with the business and economic community. The Vermont Chamber will provide the VFA, as well as the entire agritourism community, the infrastructure and stability we need to develop our market.A New England Agricultural Statistics Service study released this spring assesses Vermonts income derived from agritourism in 2002 at a total of $19.5 million. The study shows that the value of agritourism has increased 86% from $10.5 million since the year 2000. The $19.5 million represents approximately four percent of the total gross farm income generated in Vermont in 2002. In 2002, one-third of all Vermont farms received income from agritourism; these 2,200 farms received an average of nearly $8,900 per farm. Farms with smaller acreage tended to be more involved in agritourism, although larger farms had a higher average income. The most common source of agritourism income was from on-farm sales of commodities produced and sold at the farm. Maple syrup and maple products led the totals, followed by fruits, vegetables, Christmas trees, cut flowers, nursery products, cheese, and an assortment of other items. Other types of agritourism-generating income include accommodations, outdoor recreation, education, and entertainment. For more information on the Vermont Farms Association, please contact Trena Whiton ([email protected](link sends e-mail), 866-348-FARM).
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