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My Focus...

"I want the family farm - the backbone of our country's heritage - to thrive and survive for future generations."

Agritourism Breakout Sessions for Agricultural Groups

Agritourism Speaker and Consultant Jane Eckert has led breakout sessions throughout the U.S. and Canada.Jane will gladly create new sessions specifically for your audience, working with you to develop the content and examples based on your group's knowledge and experience. Jane is also prepared to present the following sessions, as always, adjusting her content and examples to directly relate to your group.

Internet Marketing: Just About As Important As a Tractor! (New in 2011!)

Today’s family farmers have to know much more than how to achieve success in planting and cultivating crops and tending to animals.  Your success often depends on how well you are able to market what you grow and raise, especially if your farm is transitioning to direct marketing instead of wholesale.  This session will include a brief overview of the basics of marketing, and then focus in on the most important tool you’ll need other than a tractor—the Internet. 

For agritourism farms and all others selling their products direct to the consumer, local schools and restaurants, this presentation may be as critical to your family farm as a financial spread sheet.  You’ll leave this session knowing not only the “basics” of marketing but also the key components you need to set your marketing priorities to sell more products.

Using the Internet to Grow Your Business
Web sites and e-Newsletters (New)

Marketing on the Internet has now become essential to grow your business. In this session, we’ll look at the basic components, and the special components, that comprise a successful web site. Onscreen examples help you focus on the information and the experiences your customers are looking for on the farm, and how to use your web site to attract new and return customers. We’ll also look at using email newsletters to build a relationship with your customers. The e-newsletter is your proactive tool to attract customers quickly and frequently!

Using the combination of a good web site and a solid e-newsletter program can bring more customers, and more income, to your farm. The investment does not have to be a big part of your marketing budget, but the impact will be!

The Times They Are A Changin’ (New!)

Bob Dylan had it right in this famous tune—the times are changing—and the savvy farmer that is willing to change his/her tune as needed will be the one that succeeds. 

In this very special keynote, speaker Jane Eckert will help us interpret the news from her unique perspective of agritourism and direct farm marketing.  How are food trends changing the choices we make in what to plant, how to grow our crops, and how to harvest them?  How will technology affect the way you do business, how you accept orders, market your products, and interact directly with your customers?

As she travels throughout North America and beyond, Jane has her finger on the market pulse, spotting trends, such as the increase in on-farm weddings, the growing market for locally grown foods, and the necessity of marketing on the Internet.  Don’t miss these valuable insights on how we as farm marketers can benefit from today’s trends and incorporate them into our lives and businesses.

Best of the Best

Jane Eckert has visited hundreds of farms throughout North America, from Hawaii to Virginia, and from the Canadian provinces to the southern tip of Florida. In on-site consultations, meetings, conferences, and workshops, she has listened to thousands of farmers, both those who barely get by, and those whose farms have been highly successful. In this brief presentation, Jane will share her insights as to why some farms excel above all others. Examining their approach to the farm operations, their commitment, their creativity, and their passion for their work, Jane’s inspirational message to farmers ignites a burning desire to achieve far greater success, and perhaps even to be among the best of the best.

Evaluating Your Farm’s Agritourism Potential

The reality of farming today is that few families can make a living solely on growing commodities and raising livestock. The family farm has to look for new ways to survive and thrive for future generations. Many are turning to agritourism – inviting the public onto their farms for entertainment, special activities, educational tours and outdoor adventures. Will an enterprise like this help sustain and grow your farm income?

Jane Eckert, who has talked with hundreds of agritourism farmers throughout North America, will walk you through the steps to evaluate your farm assets in terms of the tourism potential, and importantly, how to evaluate your family members, their skills, and their passion and commitment for a potential agritourism enterprise. You’ll also look at how small, or how large, the investment might be in getting the farm ready, and how to develop a realistic expectation for new income growth.

Group Events Produce Guaranteed Revenue

Farm life isn’t always a picnic, but there’s always money to be made from picnics on your farm! Using your existing buildings and resources, you can grow a new enterprise at your own pace. Learn how to package your farm to host company picnics, corporate events, family reunions and large parties. Step-by-step, Jane Eckert, farm marketing expert, will outline what needs to be done and how to market your facility successfully.

Providing the Farm Experience: AgriTourism That Pays Off

You want tourists to come to your farm, but do you really know what they expect? Jane Eckert, energized with more than 17 years of professional marketing and AgriMarketing experience, talks about effective AgriTourism, setting out step-by-step the experiences that tourists expect to see, feel, hear, taste, and smell on the farm. Jane uses more than 140 photographs as she explains how to create the right experiences, covering everything, -from the names of the farm, festival, foods, and animals- to your signs, front entrance, activities, and, of course, your marketing, web site and promotional materials. Find out why visitors are willing to pay to play on the farm, and how you can attract more visitors, more times a year, and for more profit. It’s all about the experience. You’ll leave this presentation with a practical list of the right activities, foods, sights and smells that make your AgriTourism business a money maker!

At Your Service: Guest Relations that Keep Them Coming Back for More

With all the options tourists have today, what differentiates one attraction from another is the service they offer. And that’s often what determines whether customers come back for a second visit. Learn the secrets to superior guest service and how every employee can be empowered to make your visitors feel like the most important person on the property. Jane Eckert helped create one of the top tourist destinations in the St. Louis area by using the Eckert Service Plan, and it paid off in happy customers and repeat business. She’ll teach everything from the basics of hiring the right people to getting your staff motivated in order to create the culture of a five-star organization.

Top Ten Ways to Promote Your Farm

Learn the secrets of successful farm marketers who have grown their businesses by selling their products directly to the public. How do you capture new sales and build loyalty for future business with existing customers? How do you “sell up” and “cross sell”? How do you evaluate your customer’s needs and meet them before they even have to ask? We’ll present the top ten ideas that are simple to implement as soon as you get back on the farm.

Making Money Without Going “Off Farm”

Many farm women want to stay at home, but need to go “off farm” to make money for the family. Jane Eckert, expert on agritourism, explains how a farm wife can create successful businesses right on the property. Whether it’s making money from a hobby or a craft, converting an old farm house to unique lodging, or inviting the public onto the farm for agritourism activities, there is a big world of options.

From pick your own strawberries to summer camps to hayrides through the orchard or a romp in the pumpkin patch, creative farm women are developing imaginative ways to attract these guests to the farm. Using photos and examples from her own travels as one of the nation’s leading agritourism specialists, Jane will share how woman after woman have started new farm enterprises by simply following their instincts for what farm visitors would enjoy. “These women have drawn on their own experiences and passions to create a unique and entertaining visit for the guests,” says Jane. “And because it is so unique, a little hard work can make growth and profit become an almost automatic reality!”

Harvest $$$ Through Groups and Corporate Events
Groups Can Yield Good Income

Groups, corporate events and parties can make a big difference in your farm income, so it is important to know how to attract these groups, and how to exceed their expectations. This session for both veterans and beginners examines the primary components of successfully hosting corporate and private groups on the farm. We’ll look at the key elements, such as pricing, contracts, deposits, using caterers, and evaluating your facilities. We will also discuss how to determine your target audiences, and how to market your facility to new group and corporate business.

Creating Press Releases that Get Published

Every farm should be using press releases to obtain free, credible media coverage, supplementing if not replacing most of your paid advertising. This session examines how to create your media list, how to write stories that make editors take notice, and how to develop that special “hook” that catches the newspaper’s attention and gets your stories published.

Agritourism: The Next Level of Marketing

As a farmer who is involved in agritourism already, you want to grow to the next level. What does it take to bring in more tourists? Which attractions should you consider adding? What changes must you make to be ready for motor coach groups? How can you increase your marketing efforts? How do you work effectively with tourism groups? Jane Eckert, expert on agritourism, will share the winning strategies she used to turn her family farm into a tourist destination attracting 500,000 people each year. Get on board the agritourism wagon for future growth.

Farm Marketing from Scratch

Most farmers focus on raising crops or livestock and give little thought to marketing their products. But in today's competitive environment, they need to understand the basics of marketing. Jane Eckert, on farm marketing, helped increase revenues at her family farm more than 300% by developing the innovative "Eckert Farm Marketing Plan." She created the Farm Marketing Pie, which divides strategies into slices that require more creativity than budget. Get an overview of this farm-fresh approach to stretching your marketing budget and increasing sales!

You've Got Mail: Marketing through e-Newsletters

Now that you have your customer, the key is to keep him or her coming back to you again and again. Building customer loyalty isn’t just important; it’s critical in today’s competitive business world. An outstanding way to keep that relationship going is through e-newsletters. An e-newsletter lets you communicate regularly about what’s going on at your farm, different picking seasons, special festivities or events and so much more. It also allows you to make an emotional connection about your family and your farm.

An e-newsletter is a pro-active extension of your web site that takes your marketing and public relations right to your customers in their home. The investment does not have to be a big part of your marketing budget, but the impact will be!

Partnerships for Profits (Marketing Through Community Partnerships)

Farm marketers know all too well that a limited marketing budget doesn't buy much advertising. So how to spread the word about your farm and bring in the crowds? One answer is to develop partnerships with community groups. Working with charities, hospitals, boy and girl scouts, parent-teacher organizations, churches, etc., you gain lots of free publicity and the groups get a good fundraising opportunity. Jane Eckert, farm marketing expert, gives you all the details about how to contact groups and develop a special partnership that is win-win for both of you!

Promotions: Sowing Excitement, Reaping Profits

Now that you've expanded your retail enterprises, how do you impact net profits? Grow beyond business as usual - and straight advertising - to special promotions that build excitement and increase sales. Whether it's in-store or in the community, these are special approaches to highlighting and selling your products that create new and loyal customers. Think outside the box - and outside the field - to jump-start your season, keep your customers coming back for more and increasing sales per customer.

Creating a Media Buzz-Publicity You Can Do Yourself!

Imagine reading an article about your farm in the newspaper… or watching a TV report on a special event you're organizing… or being quoted in the state tourism magazine… or seeing a picture of your farm in the Calendar of Events section. This kind of positive media attention can help you grow your business. And it's easy with some basic steps to get a "buzz" going about your farm. Learn how and when to contact the media; how to write simple press releases that get the media's interest; and how to develop ongoing relationships with reporters so they'll call you for story ideas.

Winning Web Sites That Mean Business (Marketing Through Web Sites)

Today, a web site isn't just important, it's mandatory for a successful farm marketer. A well-designed site can make a big difference in cash flow whether you use it to sell products or promote on-farm events. What elements make a web site work? Find out from farm marketing expert Jane Eckert, who developed a highly successful web site for her family's farm. She'll teach you how to use photographs, links and make a user-friendly home page that will make guests return to your site again and again.

Special Events Harvest Profits and New Customers

Nothing draws visitors to the farm more than a special event. Whether it's the Fruit Festival, a Patriotic July Fourth on the Farm, or a Halloween Monster Mash, special events get moms thinking, "That would be fun for the kids!" Jane Eckert, agritourism expert, personally planned and executed hundreds of special events for her family farm that attracted more than 500,000 guests. Learn from this pro how to plan the right event at the right time and how to minimize your investment while maximizing your revenue for each event. Then she'll give you tips for getting free publicity that can translate into big crowds for your farm.

Building the Basics of Agritourism

How do you build a successful agritourism operation? Begin with the basics! Farmers and ranchers often think big and forget to pay attention to the little things that attract tourists and keep them coming back. Things like creating a country experience, making a great first impression, making it easy to find you, creating a family friendly atmosphere and making the tourism connection. Agritourism expert Jane Eckert has worked with hundreds and hundreds of property owners and knows what works. Use her ideas as building blocks and you’ll be able to harvest travel dollars on your property.

Down to Earth Experiences Grow Tourism Dollars

In this increasingly complex world, tourism professionals are seeing a profound growth in the number of people wanting rural experiences, especially those that let them slow down the pace and enjoy simple pleasures… a family outing to find the perfect pumpkin, walking the fields, flushing a covey of quail, and taking in the sights and sounds of the farm or lodge. Whether it’s for a day or a week, city dwellers gladly pay for these experiences, and Jane Eckert devotes herself to knowing exactly which experiences bring visitors-and their money-to your farm or ranch. Using stories and photos from throughout North America, Jane provides her audience with the building blocks that bring tourists flocking to the countryside.

Proven Results: The Eckert Farm Marketing Plan

Most farmers focus on raising crops or livestock and give little thought to marketing their products. But in today’s competitive environment, they need to understand the basics of marketing. Jane Eckert, on farm marketing, helped increase revenues at her family farm more than 300% by developing the innovative “Eckert Farm Marketing Plan.” She created the Farm Marketing Pie, which divides strategies into slices that require more creativity than budget. Get an overview of this farm-fresh approach to stretching your marketing budget and increasing sales!