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My Focus...

I want the family farm - the backbone of our country's heritage - to thrive and survive for future generations."

Teaching AgriTourism to Direct Farm Marketers

Jane Eckert is CEO of Eckert AgriMarketing, a firm specializing in providing marketing resources and consultation to farms, wineries and ranches involved agritourism and direct farm marketing.

 

 

Jane Eckert Chosen as YWCA Leader of Distinction

We are pleased to announce that Jane was chosen by YWCA Metro St. Louis as one of 9 Leaders of Distinction to be honored at the 33rd annual Leader Lunch in December and recognized by the approximately 1,000 guests in attendance.

Leader Lunch is the area’s premier event honoring women for their achievements in the work-place and the community. The women named to the Academy of Leaders are the role models who are empowering women and working every day to eliminate racism. In other words, these women personify the YWCA mission. For more information.

Rudy Maxa, The Savvy Traveler, On Agritourism

Rudy Maxa, Rudy Maxa's World.Jane was recently a guest on Rudy Maxa's World, talking briefly about Agritourism in North America. Rudy Maxa, aka "The Savvy Traveler," is one of America's premier consumer travel experts whose writings and radio and television shows have helped save thousands of travelers time and money.

A former Washington Post reporter, he is a contributing editor with National Geographic Traveler and Delta Air Lines' Sky magazine. His nearly 100 public television episodes on the great destinations of the world have numerous awards including several Emmy Awards. His weekend radio show, "Rudy Maxa's World," is the country's most widely syndicated travel talk radio show.

Click here to listen to the interview. (Jane's segment begins at 5:09)

2015-Tour the Farms and Vineyards of Italy!

Our 2014 Agritour to Italy sold out faster than any other Eckert Agritour of the past few years.  Because of your interest in this destination, I plan to offer an Italy Agritour again in 2015.

Our 2014 group this year departs March 11 and returns March 22. Upon our return I will review with our with our travel company the stops of this year's tour in order to change and improve the tour for 2015.  The new brochure, dates and rate will be available by May for those of you interested in joining us next year.  

If you already know that you have an interest in traveling to Italy with us, please send me an mail with your name and address and you'll be a sent a brochure as soon as they are ready.

We will see Rome and Florence, but also many of the smaller towns and villages of Tuscany, Sorrento, Naples, costal villages and more. This agritouri includes many of the "must-see sites" of Italy, but also the chance to meet and talk with farm families, and see the magnificent Italian countryside.

The 2014 Agritour is SOLD OUT!
Please Call Our travel agency, 1-800-325-6708, to be placed on a waiting list.

Please click here for our 2014 brochure.
Click here to view the 2014 registration form!

India Publication Picks Up on Agritourism

I recently met Dr. Subramaniam, an entomologist/agri-biotechnologist for Jain Irragation Systems Limited, an agriculture based company in Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India. He was in St. Louis for an ag conference and called me. I gave him a tour of two of the Eckert Farms locations here in St. Louis, and asked him how he learned of my agrimarketing consulting business.

From his pocket, he produced this article which appeared in the May 16 issue of an Indian ag publication called Agro One. His boss gave him the article and told him he needed to meet me, as Jain has an agritourism component to their business as well. I'm told that this headline reads "A Revolution by an American Lady in Agri Tourism."

Agritourism Keynotes, Workshops & Breakout Sessions

Jane draws from an extensive range of first hand experience and knowledge to teach the marketing and tourism skills that help farms successfully transition to retail enterprises. Her presentations are punctuated by graphic illustrations and photographs that document the right way, and the wrong way, to grow the family farm business. Audiences eagerly participate and develop quick ownership of the new skills they learn.

Jane Eckert teaches agritourism and direct farm marketing to farms and agribusinesses throughout North America.

Jane was Elected to the Hall of Fame, 2008
North American Farmers Direct Marketing Assoc.

A sixth generation farmer's daughter with a degree in business and more than 25 years of marketing experience, Jane has published six books on agritourism and agrimarketing, and has been featured in USA Today, Time, and This Week In Agribusiness on RFD-TV, among hundreds of media interviews and appearances. Jane has received numerous awards for her dedication to preserving the world's farms through agritourism and direct marketing, a passion that will quickly ignite your audience members to grow their personal farm businesses.

2015 Agritour Repeat!
Experience
Tuscany & Italy

Our 2014 Agritour to Italy sold out faster than any other Eckert Agritour of the past few years.  Because of your interest in this destination, I plan to offer an Italy Agritour again in 2015. The new brochure, dates and rate will be available by May for those of you interested in joining us next year. 

If you already know that you have an interest in traveling to Italy with us, please send me an mail with your name and address and you'll be a sent a brochure as soon as they are ready.

For our 8th Eckert Agritour, in 2015, we will return to Italy sampling a little of everything from the villages of Tuscany, to the famous cities of Florence and Rome.  This is sure to provide a truly unique old world agricultural experience while also perhaps one of the most picturesque places we have ever toured. The land size of Italy compares to about 3% of the land mass in the United States, or about the size of Arizona.  Yet, Italy has 1.639 million active farms compared to our 2.2 million.  Small, individually owned farms predominate with the majority of farms just 7.4 acres or 3 hectares.

Farming in Italy dates back many centuries, and the majority of the farms have been in the same family for generations.  Much of the farm land is located in the hilly regions, and we’ll visit scenic Tuscany as an extraordinary example of this terrain. Many of the cities in Tuscany were built as fortresses high on the hills and protected with walls and towers to view any approaching enemies.  The farms are located on the hillsides outside these walls, with spectacular views and very hilly terrain. Horticulture is the largest category of farming and as you might expect, vineyards and wine production are the largest grossing agricultural product category of the country.

While farmers still account for about 5% of the population, they have experienced many of the same economic concerns that we have here in the U.S.  They want to keep and preserve their family farm land and the way of life they have experienced for generations. And, like many farms elsewhere, they must look for other means of revenue for their farms in order to survive.

In the early 1980s, they turned to agriturismo (agritourism) and started providing farm based lodging. The need existed for more lodging facilities in these scenic hilly and mountain regions but the development of large hotels was just not feasible.  Many of these mountain top cities don’t even permit cars or buses.  Therefore, small inns, B & B’s and farm stay accommodations are meeting the demands for lodging for both local and tourist travel outside of the major Italian cities. Today, the country has almost 20,000 farms participating in a certified lodging program, providing the needed supplemental income for the farm families.

Typical farms participating in the farm stay program host an average of 10 people at a time and some even have many more beds. About a quarter of the farm stay sites are licensed only for lodging, but nearly 15,000 of the farms also provide licensed food service with tastings of their own products.  Our tour will include a farm stay, and we’ll see a sample of the foods, plus local sports, recreation and cultural activities available to guests.

In Italy, they do not really have many on-farm markets with fresh fruits and vegetables, as we know them.  They prefer to sell their produce in town at their local farmers’ markets, since many locals are used to shopping every day for their fresh products.  For many communities, the market is the heart of the community, where friends gather for personal, face to face social connections. Our agritour will have several stops to see these markets, visit with the locals, and sample locally grown fruits, vegetables, cheese and other delights.

Certainly a major reason for going to Italy is to experience the wonderful food and recipes that have been handed down for generations. Italians are known for their love of good food and yet enjoying a healthy-eating lifestyle with plenty of olive oil. To be sure, enjoying their local foods, wine and family culture will be a highlight of our Italian experience.

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