Agritourism is a business model that is growing in popularity across the nation and in Illinois as farmers recognize the need to diversify their operations and supplement their farm incomes. Join us and learn more about incorporating an agritourism enterprise on your farm!
The Land Connection along with the Illinois Farm Bureau invites you to join us at Curtis Orchard in Champaign to explore what planning for agritourism in Illinois looks like, where it could grow and what you need to know to get there.
Combining agriculture and tourism, agritourism offers rural experiences to urban residents and economic diversification to farmers. Planning for agritourism requires a forward-thinking, locally-driven process and we hope to give farmers interested in adding this enterprise to their farm businesses the tools to help them do so.
Guests will enjoy a tour of Curtis Orchard, and a snack break followed by a panel session featuring a variety of experts in this topic.
Panel Topics will include:
- Types of Agritourism Businesses
- Financial Planning
- Risk Management/Insurance
- Regulation-Zoning, Taxes, Permits
- Best Management Practices/Keys to Success
Tickets are $10 and include a snack from Curtis Orchard (we won’t ruin your dinner;)!
This will be a great opportunity to connect with other farmers, ask questions, hear about current agritourism operations in Illinois and tour an orchard with the family who has had a successful agritourism business for decades!
Meet the Panelists
Randy Graham along with his wife Debbie (Curtis) have been co-owners of Curtis Orchard since 1994. Together, with a shared vision of faith, family and farm fun, the Curtis’ and Graham’s have provided their community and Illinois with one of the most beloved and often visited Agricultural tourism destinations in the state.
Rachel Coventry’s (daughter of Randy and Debbie Graham) hard work with honey bees earned Curtis Orchard and Pumpkin Patch the “World’s Best Tasting Honey” award from the Center for Honeybee Research. She can be found planting apple trees in the spring and managing bakery and store staff in the fall. Coventry serves on the county tourism and chamber of commerce boards. She can also be found mentoring veterans in beekeeping through Hives for Heroes and other clubs and organizations. She and her husband Jeremy enjoy including their three daughters in the farming operation.
Renata Endres is a Teaching Assistant Professor in both the Department of Recreation, Sport, and Tourism, and the Department of Agricultural & Consumer Economics. She is also the faculty coordinator for a new Agritourism Management Undergraduate Certificate program and the co-instructor of a new experiential learning course—Experiencing Agritourism—which combines classroom instruction with site visits to local agritourism enterprises.
Maggie Taylor owns Delight Flower Farm, a 5 acre commercial cut flower farm located just West of Champaign IL. In addition to supplying local florists, grocery stores, and farmers markets with fresh flowers the farm also hosts on-farm events, an artist-in-residence program, educational workshops, and tours throughout the year.
Casey McClure grew up on a small grain and hog farm in rural Jasper County, IL. He has 19+ years of experience with Farm Credit and currently serves as the Regional Manager of the Mahomet Regional Office.
Hannah is the new Grant Administrator with Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Marketing, Grants and Promotion. She joined the team on September 1, 2022, and was assigned the Agritourism Liability Insurance Tax Credit application program. Hannah has been working for the State of Illinois since July 1, 2014 and has gained a wide experience over this time. Hannah is married to a fourth-generation farmer and is a lifelong equestrian. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Horseman’s Council of Illinois. She is passionate not only about learning and growing in Illinois agriculture but also bringing enjoyment, fulfillment, and prosperity to both Illinois family farms and equestrian industry.
Leslie Cooperband and her husband Wes Jarrell are the proud owners of Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery in Champaign, Illinois. Both soil scientists and academics by trade, they left behind their professorial lives nearly 20 years ago to become goat dairy farmers and farmstead cheese-makers. They transformed a 7-acre cash grain farm into an orchard and goat dairy in 2003 and became Illinois’ first farmstead creamery in 2005. They currently milk 80 goats seasonally and make 8-10 styles of artisan cheese, several of which have won national awards, including the American Cheese Society and the Good Food Awards. Their herd has been certified “Animal Welfare Approved” since 2010. Although the dairy is the main enterprise, the farm has a farm store and also hosts local food meals, tours, classes and other farm-to-table events. The farm and creamery have been featured in numerous media over the years including Bon Appetit, Culture, Food & Wine, Eater, Chicago Tribune and Feast.
Terri Reifsteck is the Vice President of Marketing & Community Engagement for Experience Champaign-Urbana. She’s been with the tourism bureau for over 11 years and is responsible for promoting the greater Champaign-Urbana area as a Brilliant destination. She oversees the overall brand and marketing & communications strategy and is responsible for community outreach for collaboration opportunities and to ensure the story of our destination is consistent across all stakeholders. Terri creates the award-winning annual Experience Guide, is responsible for the Champaign County Area Restaurant Week, and oversees all talent attraction efforts in collaboration with the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation. Terri, a former member of the Marching Illini, came to the University of Illinois for school and stayed in the area, where she’s raised two kids, who recently made her an empty nester. You can usually find Terri at the Champaign Public Library, kayaking or hiking in one of our preserves, at our local arts & culture events, or enjoying our local food in our award-winning culinary scene.
Ben is the Office Coordinator for the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Marketing, Promotions, & Grants. Ben started this position on 04/01/2023 and he was given the task to assist with the Agritourism Liability Insurance Tax Credit program. He has been with the State of Illinois since 09/01/2018 and has worked for multiple agencies. In his free time, he enjoys watching anime and reading manga, but he is also a life-long martial artist that teaches kid’s Brazilian jiu jitsu as well as adult’s kickboxing and Muay Thai.
John Hall has worked in the Champaign County Department of Planning and Zoning since 1990 and was appointed as the Champaign County Zoning Administrator and Director of the Department of Planning and Zoning in 2006. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Illinois.
Funding provided by Illinois Farm Bureau