Farm and ranch recreation businesses now have their own Web site located at www.uwyo.edu/ranchrecr. Resources and information in all 50 states can be found on this educational web site intended for rural folks who are involved in the growing industry of tourism on farms and ranches.
Those interested in commercial recreation on their places are encouraged to check out the Web site and sign up on the list serve. This will allow them to gain valuable and timely information from educators, agency people, and most importantly, from each other.
The USDA Fund for Rural America granted money to a group of educators and industry experts to compile the database, which is housed at the University of Wyoming.
Jeff Powell, professor of range science at the University of Wyoming, says the project took a couple of years to complete because all 50 states were surveyed and the information was compiled to be in a user-friendly format. When an operator accesses the Web site, he is able to explore the list of resources available in his state or look for information in neighboring states.
An introductory slide show on the site gives operators ideas about potential activities.
One part of the database includes information for over 700 operators who either participated in the initial survey or were identified by agency people in their respective states.
Another kind of information on the Web site is the full text and figures for the 12-chapter, 300-page Farm and Ranch Recreation Handbook by RLS International which tells operators how to start and operate a successful farm/ranch recreation businesses.
Bill Bryan, Off the Beaten Path owner, surveyed travel agents about the concept of farm and ranch recreation and their booking practices with the industry. His information indicated the industry is not well-known to travel agents, but they recognize a need for operators of working farms and ranches who open their homes to guests to have a more organized approach to marketing.
The nationwide Web site will give farmers and ranchers one more tool for working together to promote their industry.
Dave Pellatz, executive director of Wyoming Homestay and Outdoor Adventures, also found a need in the industry for a nationwide approach. In addition to marketing efforts, the operators identified such industry needs as appropriate and affordable insurance and standards.
Additional information can be obtained from the Web site, by calling Susan Rottman of RLS International at 307-635-5746, or by e-mailing Jeff Powell at firstname.lastname@example.org.