2018 GAA Conference Agenda

*Times subject to change.

Tuesday, March 6

8:00 am       Welcome:  Fresh. Farm. Fun.
                      Trivia: KaHoots!

8:30 am       Session 1: Learning Can Be FUN On The Farm

                      Session Host: Jessica Bolesta
                      Incorporating STEM
                      Speakers: Donna Rocker, Georgia Farm Bureau, Ag in the Classroom
                                          Julie Wilburs, Raisin Cane
                                          Sara Hand, Destination Ag
                       A buzz word in education today is STEM. Science. Technology. Engineering. Mathematics.
                       STEM concepts can be found in agriculture everywhere you look. How can we use these 
                       concepts in agritourism to expand field trips and farm tours? Tune in to find out.                                           

9:25 am       Session 2: Connecting With Your Customers - Showcase Your FUN
                      Session Host: Anna Messer
                      GAA FAM Tour 
                      Using a Blogger to Promote Your Farm
                      Speaker: Charlotte Cruce, Just Peachy Keen With the Peachy Queen 
                      Charlotte Cruce has been blogging for years and attended GAA's FAm Tour last August. Tune 
                       in to learn how to network with bloggers to promote your agritourism operation. Cruce 
                       will also share a few tips for telling your story through social media.

                       How Social Media Partners Promote Agritourism
                       Speaker: Katie Christoff, GDED - Tourism
                       Katie, along with a team of social media influencers, is a face behind the Explore Georgia 
                       social media campaigns. In 2017, Georgia's Department of Economic Development - 
                       Tourism division ran a campaign called #ExploreGeorgiaFarms, promoting several GAA 
                       farms, Christoff will provide an update on the campaign in addition to tips for engaging your
                       customers through social media.                       

10:30 am       Networkng Break/ Visit with Exhibitors

10:45 am       Trivia: KaHoots!

10:50am        Session 3: FRESH from the Farm
                        Session Host: Rita Suiter
                        Food Safety On The Farm
                        Speaker: Tony Jones, Mercier Orchards

                        While food safety is certainly a prioirty for all farmers, what food safety items do we easily 
                        forget about when it comes to agritourism? Sampling product. Cleaning. Packing product. 
                        Handwashing stations and more. Join us to learn from Mercier Orchards's Food Safety
                        Officer.

                         Fresh Boxes
                         Speaker: Jessica Kirk, Lewis Taylor Farms
                         Convenience is key in the 2018 food industry. Learn how this farm diversified in 2017
                          to start a produce box delivery program. Spring Hill fresh, from field to fork.

                         Plugging In Your Farm To Local School Systems
                         Speaker: Misty Friedman, Georgia Department of Agriculture
                         
As the local food movement has grown, so has the request for Georgia Grown products
                         in local school systems. How can your farm's products make it to a school's lunch table? Find
                         out in this session.

12:20 pm         Lunch 

1:15 pm           Trivia: KaHoots!

1:30 pm           Session 4: FRESH Ideas For Your Business
                         
 Session Host: Sara Hand
                          Getting Your Product To Market
                          Speaker: Linda Mahan, Local Event Management
                          Linda and her team at LEM know first hand the importance of bringing product to market
                          and cross promoting via working with a variety of partners. Join us for this presentation
                          to learn the value to operators partnering with local entrepreneurs.

                          Logistics, Staffing, Merchandising and More
                          Speaker: Brandon Smith
                          
Brandon Smith has been a hands-on partner in connecting Georgia agritourism
                          interests with local farmers markets since 2010. He currently manages the logistics, 
                          distribution ,staffing and merchandising for three Georgia farms at more than 20 weekly  
                          farmers markets around metropolotan Atlanta.                                             

2:30 pm           Networking Break/ Visit With Exhibitors

2:45 pm           Trivia: KaHoots!

2:50 pm           Session 5: Happy Customers = Business Success  
                          Session Host: Cynde Dickey
                          Market Displays  
                          Speakers: Daniel Welliver, Southern Belle Farms
                                             Jeremy Echols, Jaemor Farms
                                             Deborah Tillman, Watermelon Creek Vineyard
                                             Rita Suiter, Mercier Orchards
                          
How one chooses to display their product and/or farm experience plays a role in sales. 
                          Everything from displaying canned/jarred items in a certain way. pies, ice cream, meats, 
                          trees, etc. Customers are also encouraged to shop via the setting in which they are in. From 
                          photo backdrops and samples, to a farm's easy to read and follow signs. Glean some fresh 
                          ideas from this panel of operators!          

                          Customer Service     
                          Speaker: Hugh McPherson
                          
We are not in business without our customers. In our final presentation, learn how to better
                          your operation's interaction with custoemrs.

4:30 pm           Conclude