August 5, 2005 | By: Laura Skillman
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky.

Participants attending this year’s Agricultural Diversification Summer Event were treated to a wide range of information, including hospitality training and estate planning.

Joe Huber, a successful Indiana agritourism entrepreneur, was the featured speaker at the event sponsored by the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service and the District 5 Women in Agriculture.

Huber, who operates the Joe Huber Family Farm and Restaurant in Starlight, Ind., told participants that if they plan to invite guests to their farms, they should like people.

“If you are a people person you will have fun being in the ag events business,” he said. “But if you don’t like people, don’t get in because you are going to meet everyone and every kind there is.“

Huber and his wife, Bonnie, bought his family’s farm in 1967 and established a U-pick operation. A farm market opened in 1969, followed by a family restaurant in 1983 and gift shop in 1985. 

“Everyone’s talking about agritourism today,” he said. “They need to change the name to entertainment farming because that’s the only reason they are going to come to your farm is to be entertained and have some fun. So, your challenge is what can we do here to where we can entertain grandma and grandpa and mom and dad and all the kids?”

Sharon Wayne, a member of the planning committee and Women in Agriculture, said her interest in assisting with the event was to ensure people are aware of the diverse opportunities available.

“I think a lot of times women don’t get the message, and it is important that we reach out and let them know the opportunities available through Women in Ag and UK and the different areas represented here,” she said.

“The event began with a focus on agritourism but was expanded to include all aspects of agriculture,” said Becky Nash, Taylor County Extension agent for family and consumer sciences and a member of the planning committee. “I think anybody that attended could pick up on several good ideas.”

This is the first combined summer event for the 5th District, which had encompassed two separate areas – Lake Cumberland and Lincoln Trail, Nash said. This year’s event was held at Campbellsville University, a central location within the 18-county Extension district.

Attorney Keith Jeffers addressed legal issues of an agriculture business and talked about estate planning. Jeffers told participants considering a new venture to be sure they discuss it with their family, attorney, accountant, insurance agent and banker.

“Keeping these people in the dark about anything you do is a setup to fail …,” he said. 

Lesley Sneed began growing blackberries and vegetables for the Taylor County farmers market this year and attended the summer event to get ideas.

“I learned a lot from the class on displays and setting them up to draw people into your market,” she said. 

Debbie Gabbert of Taylor County said she’d always wanted to come to an event on diversification.

“I have a farm and I’m interested in diversification,” she said. “I do sorghum and I’ve raised popcorn. I’m very much attuned and interested in all these efforts. Of course, my farm relies on traditional things as well – hay, cattle and corn. There are so many options now. Obviously, a lot of people have interest in these things.”

 

Contact: 

Writer: Laura Skillman 270-365-7541 ext. 278

Contact: Becky Nash, 270-465-4511