September Newsletter Print

A Word From the Board

We opened our fall corn maze this past weekend - thus - as many of you may be experiencing, crunch time is HERE. We use a few weekends in September to train our staff so that we are ready to rock-n-roll when October arrives. For those of you who are wrapping up your busy season of summer - congratulations! If you haven't opened up your fall activities yet - or if you are getting your kinks worked out in early September like us, here are a few things we do each year that might be of help to you in your planning/set up. 1) We host a planning meeting with all maze employees to go over our employee expectations, customer service, and to pass out their schedules; 2) Signage is key. We put up signs at our driveway's entrance that list our maze dates, in addition to our big maze entrance signs that are themed each year to match the maze shape (this year ours is a train, i.e. the Jaemor Express); 3) Rev up your social media engine. We are hosting a promo on Facebook for the '12 days of Jaemor Corn Maze' and are giving away passes for 12 days, because it's our 12th annual maze! Be creative, the sky is the limit; 4) Something we started doing three years ago, is we hang maps of all of our past mazes on one big wall under our Shed pavillion where our maze ticket pass is located. These maps become a fun photo backdrop for visitors, but it is also fun to hear the stories 'Oh, dad, I remember this one!', etc. as guests walk by the wall of maps. and 5) Don't forget to restock your first aid kits and fire extinguishers! We also try to have zip lock bags and ice ready in case of any bee stings.

Wishing you all a great fall kick off for 2017. 

Caroline Lewallen 
GAA President 

Back to top

Is Your Farm Protected for Fall?

Agritourism operators are gearing up for a busy fall as we say good-bye to summer.  Beginning Labor Day weekend and running through mid-December, thousands of visitors will flock to our state’s working family farms for the “farm experience”.  Though most farms are open year round to visitors, seasonal activities like hayrides, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, choose and cut Christmas trees, and various other activities will go into full swing.  Add all the visitors and activities to a working farm and you now have an agricultural destination with an all new set of risks.  These risks are the reason that many farm policies do not provide adequate coverage in the event of an unfortunate claim.  The proper policy could mean the difference in keeping your family farm and losing it. Read the full article here.

Back to top

Customer Service Webinar

As the fall agritourism season kicks off, don’t forget one of the most important assets on your farm – YOUR EMPLOYEES. The Georgia Agritourism Association is proud to offering a series of customer service webinars to help you make your operation even better.  Whether you have a robust customer service program and employee training or nothing at all, these webinars should help provide insight to create a customer service program for your operation and training for your employees. Webinars will overview aspects such as:

The first webinar will be on September 21, so go ahead and Register Today!

Non-GAA Members:       $25
GAA Member Discount:  $0            

Back to top

Member Spotlight - Southern Belle Farm

Established in 1938, Southern Belle Farm is a 330 acre historic family farm that is now operated by the fifth generation of the Carter family.  Nestled in McDonough, Georgia, Jake, Jimmy and Kathy Carter have taken their family farm and added a new level of agriculture awareness.  Like many agritourism operators, the Carter family wanted to bring awareness and family fun into one experience.  They recognized an interest in their community for kids and families to have fun together while learning “hands on” experiences about farming.  Southern Belle Farm offers a variety of fun activities on the farm including u-pick strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and vegetables during harvest season.  In the fall, guests can enjoy a pumpkin patch and corn maze.  They also honor special members of the community with a Hometown Hero Day and bring awareness to farmers on Farm Heritage Day.  Aside from all the family fun, guests can also take a break for homemade ice cream, cakes, and pies!  When asked why Agritourism is important to the Carter family, they believe “It gives us an opportunity to educate the public about agriculture while providing families with a unique experience.”

Back to top

What's Growin' On

Fall is officially here and all Georgia farms are making final preparations for one of the busiest times of the year!  From corn mazes and apple picking to pumpkin patches and even final pruning for Christmas trees, it is safe to say all farms are preparing for an incredible season!  This month, we have some awesome Customer Service Tips from Rita Suiter at Mercier Farms.  Mrs. Rita presented this slideshow at our 2017 conference last February and showed everyone how to make every engagement with customers matter!  So, this month, here’s What’s Growin’ On in Customer Service… 

Back to top

Member Marketing Opportunity with WSB-TV ATL

Georgia Agritourism Association has been given the opportunity to work with the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Georgia Grown marketing program to promote corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and Christmas tree farms in Georgia from September – December 2017 with WSB-TV Channel 2 ATL website,  Facebook and Instagram. The cost is $100 per commodity promotion.  The deadline for Christmas Trees is October 1.The deadline for Corn Mazes and Pumpkins has already passed. Read more here.

Back to top

Save the Date: 2018 GAA Annual Conference

The 2018 Georgia Agritourism Annual Conference will be hosted March 5-6 at Unicoi State Park & Lodge in Helen, GA!  Information regarding registration, lodging and other meeting details coming soon. Click here to suggest educational session topics.

Back to top

Interested in serving on the 2018 GAA Board of Directors?

We would love to hear from you! Complete the short form here.

Back to top

2017 ORGANIZATIONAL SPONSORS