2015 Conference Logo - BBO


Click HERE to download a PDF of the Full Conference Schedule

Monday, February 16
All activities occur at The Rainwater Conference Center, Valdosta, GA unless otherwise stated

6:45 a.m.         Registration Opens

7:30 a.m.         Agritourism Farm Tour Buses Depart
                            Buses depart from the front of the Rainwater Conference Center

 Raisin’ Cane, Valdosta

Breakfast Provided by Raisin’ Cane

Thompson Farms Smoke House, Dixie

Frogtown Winery, Hahira

Gin Creek, Hartsfield

Ochlockonee Ridge Farms, Moultrie

Sparkmans Cream Valley, Moultrie

Horse Creek Winery, Sparks

6:00 p.m.       Horse Creek Winery, Sparks

Georgia Grown Reception
Featuring Participants from GA Grown Trails Hwy 37 and Hwy 41
Dinner and Program
Welcome, Drew Echols, President, GA Agritourism Association
Origin, Success and Future of Georgia Grown Trails Hwy 37 and Hwy 41, Jerry Connell, Adel Cook County Chamber
The Story of Horse Creek Winery, Ed Perry, Horse Creek Winery

8:30 p.m.         Buses Depart Horse Creek Winery

 9:00 p.m.         Agritourism Farm Tour Buses Return to Conference Center

                           Hospitality Suite Open
                          Fairfield Inn & Suites 

NOTE: In the Hospitality Suite, light snacks, water, and soft drinks provided. Everyone is welcome to provide additional snacks and drinks, games, cards, and entertainment!

Tuesday, February 17
All activities occur at The Rainwater Conference Center, Valdosta, GA unless otherwise stated

7:00 a.m.   Registration Opens

- Breakfast on your own

 8:00 a.m.      Mingle with Exhibitors

Silent Auction Open

                  Grand Hall II

 8:30 a.m.        The Aspects of Hiring and Firing

                    Gazebo II

Most agritourism operations do not have a full time human resources manager or legal team ready to tackle the issues that come with one of our most valued assets…employees. Participate in the discussion of how family farms need to legally go about hiring and firing seasonal, part-time and full-time employees. Do you need an employee handbook for your operation? Can you fight certain labor claims made by employees?

Moderator:     Lisa Rackley, Univ of Georgia Small Business Development Center, Macon, GA

Racquel Robinson, Georgia Department of Labor, Atlanta, GA – Unemployment Insurance

Grant Greenwood, James-Bates-Brannan-Groover, LLP, Macon, GA – Employee Handbook

Lisa Rackley, Univ. of Georgia Small Business Development Center, Macon, GA – HR Tips & Tools

                        QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

 10:30 a.m. Morning Break with Exhibitors

                      Grand Hall II

 11:00 a.m. Georgia Grown Program

                    Gazebo II

 The Georgia Department of Agriculture is more than cows, cooking and pesticide inspections. Through the Georgia Grown Marketing Program they can help you market your commodities, fund the research and promotions, protect you from taxes, and ensure your commercial kitchen is up to code. Find out about all the aspects of the Georgia Grown program YOU need to be involved in to be even more successful.

Moderator: Shelia Rice, Calhoun Produce, Ashburn, GA

Agritourism Signage Program

Area Marketing Contacts

Food Safety & Cottage Food Industry

  Jack Spruill, Georgia Department of Agriculture, Moultrie, GA

                    QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

12:00 p.m.  Lunch with Exhibitors

                       Grand Hall II

 1:00 p.m.   Protecting The Family Farm From The Rough In-Law

                      Gazebo II

 Succession planning is very important…especially with family property(s). But what about the ‘rouge’ in-law that you never imagined your grandchild to be legally bound?! Hear how you can keep the family farm in the family and away from the outlawed in-laws.

Moderator: Janice Hale, Hillcrest Orchards, Elijay, GA

                       Nowell Berreth, LLP, Alson & Bird, Atlanta, GA

                      QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS


                    Gazebo II

 Join the conversation with other agritourism operators to learn from each other. This past Fall was a huge year for most Georgia agritourism venues. Be prepared to share or just listen to what operations did well, what they plan to change, and what they will never do again. Discussion will be limited to the following categories:

Moderator: John Slemmer, Benivia, LLC, Roswell, GA

                                 2014 Fall Season Success

                                Weddings / Events

                                Field Trips / Educational Opportunities


 3:00 p.m.   Afternoon Break with Exhibitors

                       Grand Hall II


                       Gazebo II

 Another great example of our tax dollars at work…but for something from which we can actually benefit! Learn about the tools and people available through the Tourism Division of the GA Dept of Economic Development

Moderator: Drew Echols, Jaemor Farms, Alto, GA

Visitor Information Centers and Their Success Stories with Agritourism Operations

Regional Tourism Project Managers


 4:45 p.m.   GAA Annual Membership Meeting

                     Gazebo II

 5:30 p.m.   Reception with Exhibitors

                      Silent Auction Bid War

                      Brochure Swap

                      Grand Hall II

 6:30 p.m.   Dinner

                       Outdoor Veranda beside the Cypress Pond

 9:00 p.m.   Hospitality Suite Open

                      Fairfield Inn & Suites

Wednesday, February 18
All activities occur at The Rainwater Conference Center, Valdosta, GA unless otherwise stated

7:00 a.m.   Registration Opens

7:30 a.m.   Breakfast with Exhibitors

                     Silent Auction Open

                    Grand Hall II

 8:15 a.m.   Silent Auction Closes – BID HIGH!

                     Grand Hall II


                     Gazebo II

Moderator: Wendy Barton, Lane Southern Orchards, Fort Valley, GA

Do You Run Your Marketing Schedule Or Does Your Schedule Run Your Marketing Efforts?

Kyle Hensel, Univ of Georgia, Small Business Development Center, Savannah, GA

The word “just” is becoming the single most non-threatening word/idea consuming our time, and most people do not even recognize it. If you do not have a plan to market your agritourism operation, your day/week/month will run away with all the other effortless, time-robbing items to which you think, it’s “just” a small task or “just” a quick errand. Take control of your marketing efforts with a plan for promoting your operation and “just” wait to see the return on your marketing time.

Going Beyond The Post

Guerry Norwood, Full Media, Gainesville, GA

Learn how to “Go Beyond the Post” and utilized all that social media has to offer from advanced Facebook practices to other forums such as Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and more.Facebook got us into the social media frenzy but now there are other, more trending tools to help you reach new audiences, market your operation and special events.


 10:30 a.m.Morning Break with Exhibitors

                        SILENT AUCTION WINNERS POSTED

                      Grand Hall II

 10:45 a.m.Exhibitors Break Down


                      Gazebo II

 One of the most important and confusing questions in all agritourism looms around liability insurance. Do you have enough insurance? Do you have the right company? Do you need liability insurance for each activity or just the farm? Get answers from two perspectives – a seasoned agritourism operator and an insurance broker.

 Jeff Manley, The Rock Ranch, The Rock, Georgia – Insuring Agritourism

 Alison Bagwell Smith, Bagwell Insurance, Gainesville, GA – Protecting Your Heritage

 Noon         Drive Home Safely!