Montana State to Host Inaugural Agritourism Conference 

Montana State to host inaugural Montana Agritourism Conference May 3

From MSU News Service

02/13/2024 Shannon Arnold, Department of Agricultural and Technology Education: shannon.arnold@montana.edu or 406-994-6663

Summary: The event will feature educational sessions, speakers and networking opportunities and focus on generating interest and knowledge around the combination of agriculture and tourism.


BOZEMAN – The Montana State University College of Agriculture and Montana Agritourism Fellows Program will host a new conference focused on the confluence of agriculture and tourism on Friday, May 3, on the MSU campus. The event will include speakers, educational sessions and networking opportunities for attendees.

The conference, titled “Building Agritourism from the Ground Up: Inviting You to the Table,” will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Strand Union Building. It is the culmination of a year of collaboration and learning by the first-ever cohort of the Montana Agritourism Fellows Program, which was established in 2022 to engage Montana producers in developing an environment of agritourism in the state. The event is also supported by the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, for which MSU has served as the host institution since 2018.

Registration for the conference costs $50 per person and the deadline to register is April 19. A full agenda and registration can be found at www.montanaagritourism.com/events-2-1.

The 14 members of the Montana Agritourism Fellows Program came from nine Montana communities. Over a year, they visited sustainable agritourism operations across the state and learned about management, business, media relations and other relevant topics.

Topics covered at the event will include starting an agritourism business; marketing and communication; funding opportunities and initiatives focused on agritourism; public engagement; and more. Speakers will include Cole Mannix, founder of the Old Salt Co-op in Helmville; Nick DeCastro, founder of recreation access network LandTrust in Bozeman; and Glenna Brown and Elena Bigart of the University of Montana’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research. 

“Our conference is designed to bring together industry leaders and professionals from various backgrounds in tourism, agriculture, education, community development and more,” said Shannon Arnold, a professor in MSU’s Department of Agricultural and Technology Education and a member of the leadership team for the Montana Agritourism Fellows Program. “We are looking forward to a day of insightful discussions, learning from experts and networking with peers from around the industry.”

Along with Arnold, the program is led by Dustin Perry, head of the Department of Agricultural and Technology Education; Kim Woodring, Toole County Extension agent; and Beth Shirley, assistant professor in technical communication in MSU’s Department of English


This story is available on the Web at: http://www.montana.edu/news/23493