Chamber of Commerce combines agriculture, tourism in committee
Morgan County is no stranger to two things â€" one, agriculture and, two, tourism.
So, the Madison-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, in an effort to combine these sources of revenue, started the Agri-Business/Agri-Tourism Committee, and found another way in which to bring in more moo-ney.
â€œThe purpose of it (the Agri-Business/Agri-Tourism Committee) is to promote agriculture as economic development and is part of the tourism product,â€� Chamber of Commerce President Marguerite Copelan said.
The one-year-old committee has already completed many projects, including sponsoring a petting zoo at Morgan County Elementary School and nominating the Farm Family of the Year â€" the Aubrey Moon Family â€" for the Chamber of Commerceâ€™s annual Awards Dinner.
The committee currently has many events planned for the future.
One of the most recent projects involves marketing the countyâ€™s farm tours as agri-tourism. Currently, three farms in the county offer tours â€" Big Sandy Creek Dairy Farm, Jackâ€™s Creek Tree Farm and Johnston Dairy Farm.
As the initiative was geared towards church groups, names, contact information and a taste of each farmâ€™s offerings was printed on rack cards and sent to 2,000 churches.
â€œThe cards went out a few weeks ago and weâ€™re already starting to get calls,â€� Copelan said. â€œItâ€™s a co-promotion of heritage tourism and agricultural tourism.â€�
Plans are also in the works for the annual Farm City Tour scheduled for Thursday, November 8.
The tour, sponsored by Farm Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce, features four to five mystery sites (you donâ€™t know where youâ€™re going until youâ€™re there) and includes lunch. The tour is free and open to the public, and encourages learning about the county. On average, the tour sees between 150 and 200 attendees, according to Copelan.
The committee is also planning a 2008 Farm Day and Farm Olympics as well as promoting the Ag Center as a venue for various events. At the urging of the committee, a bid to host the 2008 Southeast Youth Dairy Conference was placed by the Extension Service.
All plans made by the Agri-Business/Agri-Tourism Committee have the same goal in mind â€" to promote agriculture in Morgan County and, hopefully, provide some public education along the way.
â€œAgriculture is part of the fabric of life here in Morgan County,â€� Copelan said. â€œAnything that benefits the quality of life here in the county is what weâ€™re about.â€�
All of the committeeâ€™s planned events are posted on the Chamber of Commerceâ€™s Web site, www.madisonga.org.Â
Further, the committee is open for anyone with interest to join. There are currently 25 members, and they range from farmers to local business owners to government representatives. The committee generally meets on the first Monday of every month. To check a meeting time, call the Chamber of Commerce at 706.342.4454.
â€œThey want to see that agriculture continues to prosper in Morgan County,â€� Copelan said. â€œThey know thereâ€™s a lot more to it than just having a farm.â€�