ROANOKE—The 2019 Virginia Agritourism Conference on April 3 and 4 will provide agritourism entrepreneurs with resources and ideas. Agritourism accounts for $2.2 billion in economic activity in the state and brings people to Virginia farms for a diverse range of experiences, from apple picking and wine tasting to cutting the family Christmas tree. The event at the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center will feature interaction with experts on developing an agritourism business, celebrating its successes and managing its challenges. Agenda topics include delivering exceptional customer service, ensuring farm safety, and marketing collaboratively within a region. Bettina Ring, Virginia secretary of agriculture and forestry, will be one of the featured speakers. Julia Clark, executive director of the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture, Innovation and Rural Sustainability , will moderate a panel discussion with Dr. Dixie Dalton of Southside Community College and Seth and Courtney Umbarger of Laurel Springs Beef on “Building a Plan.” A discussion on “Making the Agritourism Voice Heard” will include Kyle Shreve, executive director of the Virginia Agribusiness Council, and Andrew Smith, associate director of governmental relations for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. Tours will be offered at Roanoke-area farms with agritourism operations. For details and to register, visit register.cpe.vt.edu/search/publicCourseSearchDetails.do?method=load&courseId=2010230. The conference is sponsored by Farm Bureau, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, VA FAIRS, the Virginia Agribusiness Council, the Virginia Association of Counties, Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Virginia State University Small Farm Outreach Program, Virginia Tech and the Virginia Tourism Corporation. Media: Contact Dr. Martha Walker, Virginia Cooperative Extension, at 434-766-6761.