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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.

 

 


ANNOUNCING:


An Agritour of Alaska!
Explore the 49th State From the Inside, Out!

June 10-21, 2016

This is not the coastal cruise your friends have taken—we are going inland Alaska to explore the fields, farms, fauna and flora, where 20 hours of sunshine can result in 90 lb cabbages!

Of course, we travel by rail to see Mt. McKinley, the Denali National Park, and we'll take a cruise out to see the glaciers in Prince Williams Sound.

But we'll also visit the Mat-Su Valley, home of 75% of the state's agriculture output. We'll visit one of the largest commercial greenhouse nurseries in the state, and enjoy gourmet dining on locally grown organics, along with Alaskan favorites like fresh catch salmon.

Our farm tours will include dairy, bison, and musk ox farms, along with a number of organic farms and nurseries. Presentations will include the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, the Denali Education Center, and the Eielson Visitors Center, which is located at mile 66 on the park road.

The Alaska Railway will take us from Anchorage to the Whittier harbor on Prince William Sound for a cruise to visit the glaciers "up close and personal." Later, we board the train a second time to travel from the Knik River Lodge up to Denali.

This is one of the most scenic train rides in the world, and our guests have the option to upgrade to the GoldStar Service, which includes meals and travel in a dome topped car.

Please read through our complete travel itinerary today and complete your reservations. Due to the unique nature of this tour, we will not be able to schedule a second tour group, and you don't want to be left out!

Brochure on Alaska 2016
Registration form-Alaska Tour
or Please Call Our travel agency, 1-800-325-6708 to reserve your spot.


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)


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.

Join Me June 10-21, 2016 for An Agritour of Alaska!

I’m very excited to announce that our June 10, 2016 Agritour is going to stay in North America for a very special inland look at the state of Alaska!

This is not the coastal cruise your friends have taken—we are going to go inland Alaska to explore the fields, farms, fauna and flora, where 20 hours of sunshine can result regularly in 90 pound cabbages!

While Alaska is the largest U.S. state with over 365 million acres, the number of acres in farmland is fewer than one million.  And talk about some interesting challenges—those of us in the lower 48 often feel our own farm location has challenging growing conditions, but imagine the limited time for planting and harvest in Alaska. 

It is also fascinating that while Alaskans endure months of darkness and very wintry days, they also have over 20 hours of summer daylight and have recorded some of the largest sizes of many popular vegetables, including a 127 pound cabbage and a 19 pound carrot. 

These are just a few of the reasons that I chose Alaska to be my next Agritour destination, June 10 -21, 2016.  We intend to thoroughly explore and experience this very unique way of life.  

 Like all our agritours, we will share our time between the traditional attractions of the area, and the very unique agricultural features…so first, let’s look at the farms, nurseries and unique dairies (musk ox!) we will visit in Alaska.

The timing for the 2016 tour is a little later in the year to allow us to see the real Alaska and offer some very unique opportunities to meet the farmers and learn about their growing conditions. 

One of the major growing areas is in the Mat-Su Valley just north of Anchorage, at the confluence of the Matanuska and Susitna Valleys.  During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the New Deal program relocated Midwestern families to this fertile valley, and it has remained the state’s agriculture center since then. 

There are only 762 farms in Alaska but you may be surprised by the diversity of their operations, as well as the agritourism components that have emerged through the farmers’ perseverance.

Our first stop will be to the Forget-Me-Not Nursery & Garden, just south of Anchorage.  Not only will we tour their greenhouse but we will also hear how they have developed weddings, corporate events and educational tours to be part of their business.

We will then visit the historic, family owned Crow Creek Mine, and walk through their gardens to the creek where we will try our hand at prospecting for gold.

We travel to Palmer, Alaska to meet 10th generation farmer Ben VanderWeele and learn how his farm has been recognized as the premier source for Alaskan grown vegetables. Ninety pound cabbages and 7 pound turnips are the rule, not the exception!  I expect he might share his secrets on getting these heavy weight veggies to market.

Located nearby, in the foothills of the Chugach Mountain, is the Little Pitch Fork Bison Ranch, home to over 600 acres and surrounded by breathtaking scenery. They now concentrate on the wild game of bison and elk and will provide us some up-close encounters with the animals.

Our next stop will be to the Musk Ox Farm that is dedicated to the domestication of the musk ox, an Ice Age mammal that once roamed the earth alongside other woolly mammoths. These animals produce qivuit, said to be the finest wool in the world, and we will have the opportunity to make our purchases in their gift shop.

Then on to the Havemeister Farm—the Havemeister’s are the last remaining original dairy farmers of those settlers who were voluntarily relocated here from the Midwest in the New Deal program. Plan to enjoy some very special homemade ice cream after our tour.

Our trip will include the Fairbanks area where we will visit the AWE Farm owned by Jimmie & Laura Hendricks.  Jimmie’s experiences as a professional teacher, wilderness educator, wilderness guide, homesteader, cabin builder, mountain climber, and sailor have given him a broad foundation to draw from for their wilderness living educational tours and presentations about his farm.

Another must see stop will be to the North Pole Peony Farm.  Peonies can be grown in Alaska in July and August, a time when the lower 48 doesn’t harvest even a stem.  Now, over 50 growers in the area have formed a co-op and packing facility to collect, chill and ship for out-of-state orders to the U.S. and Canada.

Later we visit the Calypso Farm and Ecology center, a non-profit, educational farm based in Ester, Alaska.  They provide hands-on education to Fairbanks school children and various educational programs. 

The farm also operates a CSA to feed a number of local families. Their mission is to encourage local food production and environmental awareness through hands-on education in natural and farming ecosystems.

Our last farm stop before returning home will be to the family run Rosie Creek Farm located at the confluence of Rosie Creek and the Tanana River, just outside of Fairbanks.  This family is committed to organic production and using sustainable growing methods to harvest both vegetables and beautiful cut flowers, marketed through their CSA and sales to local markets and restaurants.

Of course, no trip to Alaska would be complete without spending time to explore the natural beauty and wildlife of this magnificent state. 

We will take a half-day small-boat cruise to explore the Blackstone and Beloit Glaciers in Prince William Sound.  This will bring you up close to two active tidewater glaciers and one hanging glacier, and we’ll be there long enough to maximize our chances of seeing spectacular glacier calving, where massive chunks of glacial ice crash into the water....

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