2017 GAA Conference Agenda

*Times subject to change.

Tuesday, February 28

8:00 am         Welcome
Trivia/ Games/ Ice Breaker Fun

8:30 am         Session 1: Connecting With Your Customer

                        Session Host: Cynde Dickey
                        Speaker: Heather Sharpe, UGA SBDC
                        Make sure your customers (and potential customers) can find you online. Learn tips to
                        enhance your website, engage visual marketing (because a picture is worth 1000 words!), 
                        and share your own experiences with your peers.      

                        Speaker: Sami Mastrario, SamiM Photography
Get expert tips for taking photos on the farm to better promote your operations, events,
                        and activities.


10:00 am        Networking / Trivia

10:30 am        Session 2: Diversify Your Farm Online via eCommerce
                         Session Host: Caroline Lewallen
                         Speakers: Austin Suggs and Richie Knight, Sprout Strategic Marketing
                         Agritourism operations are working farms that have diversified by opening their farm
                         gates to the community. Find out how much more diversification you can bring to your
                         farm by adding or enhancing eCommerce. Whether you sell commodity baskets and
                         products, or use eCommerce to set up a special event, learn how you can support your
                         farming operation through eCommerce.                        

11:35 am         Session 3: Agritourism Liability
                          Session Host: Beth Oleson
                          Speaker: Joel McKie, Hall Booth Smith, P.C.
                          Learn about Georgia's agritourism  liability laws, signs, and measures you may
                          need to take to ensure you, your agritourism operation, your employees, and your
                          customers are covered.

12:15 pm         Lunch and GAA Business Session
                          Announcement of 2017 Community Involvement Award
 The nature of agritourism operators is one of generosity and promoting healthy
                          communities. Learn more about this opportunity to be awarded at the 2018 Conference
                          by showcasing your community involvement or honoring someone you feel is

 1:30 pm          Session 4: Customer Service on the Farm
 Session Host: Rodney Miller
                          Speaker: Rita Suiter, Mercier Orchards
                          We live in a time when customers can provide instant feedback and experiences with
                          the world through social media. Have you ever considered how many "touchpoints" 
                          are available at your agritourism operation? Have you ever taken the time to create a
                          customer service program/motto or train your staff? Get tips to make every touchpoint
                          with your customers a great one. And what better way to explain customer service
                          than learning how to set up, interact, and manage school tours?! From managing your
                          staff's expectations to managing the expectations of the school and parents, this is
                          a discussion you will not want to miss.           

                          Speaker: Jessica Bolesta, Raisin' Cane        

                          Speaker: Anna Messer, The Rock Ranch                              

2:30 pm           Session 5: Sales Tax Update
                          Session Host: Mike Pinzl
                          Speaker: Beth Lankford, GA Department of Revenue
                          In 2016 the GA Dept of Revenue worked with the agritourism industry to get operations
                          in line with tax regulations and remit any sales tax that might have been due. Hear 
                          about the common questions they've received and the answers they've provided. Learn 
                          how they plan to continue to work with our industry to ensure education as we 
                          continue to move into 2017.

3:15 pm           Networking / Trivia

3:50 pm           Session 6: GMO Rebuttals
                          Session Host: Jennifer McMillan
                          Speaker: Caroline Lewallen, Jaemor Farms
                          Some of the most controversial, ignored, and scary questions received by agritourism
                          operators are about genetically modified organisms. Hear how one of our own
                          agritourism operators has created an approach and response to this and other

5:30 pm           Conclude