California Agritourism News September 2020
News and notes for the agritourism community from UC SAREP

Thank you for all you're doing. We hope you and yours are staying safe and well.

In this newsletter:
  • UC SAREP's current agritourism projects
  • Agritourism Intensive classes coming Winter 2021 in SLO and Mendocino Counties.
  • Help visitors find you; list on
  • County regulatory updates
  • Sonoma County Urgency Ordinance
  • Siskiyou County agritourism ordinance hearing Sept. 15
  • Notes from here and there
  • Help farmers impacted by fire
  • Register with FEMA if impacted by fire
  • Produce Safety after wildfire
  • FSA offers "Disaster at a Glance" guide
  • CFAP application deadline Sept. 11
  • On-farm elderberry workshop
  • NAFDMA members share Fall planning discussion
  • Rutgers University Extension offers COVID safety tips
  • USDA RD creates Recreation Economy Guide
  • Resources for COVID-19 survival
  • Useful agritourism resources

Please stay in touch; share your stories or news or thoughts for the next issue.

Penny Leff
Agritourism Coordinator
UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (UC SAREP)
UC SAREP's agritourism projects
SAVE the DATES for "Agritourism Intensive" class SLO County
Mendocino County class info coming soon
With funding from Western Extension Risk Management Education, UC SAREP is working with local agriculture, tourism, community and agritourism organizations in Mendocino and San Luis Obispo Counties to plan "Agritourism Intensive" classes for farmers and ranchers, with classes to be offered in Winter 2020-21.

The SLO County class will take the form of six participatory webinars, with registration open to SLO, Monterey and Santa Barbara County farmers, ranchers and others involved in or considering agritourism enterprises. Participants will be expected to register and to participate in all six sessions, if possible.

The SLO County class will be held as a series of online zoom meetings on Tuesdays, January 12, 19 and 26, and February 2, 9 and 16, 2021, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. each day, with shared access at the SLO Farm Bureau office for those with poor internet service. Registration information will be announced soon. Please save the dates.

Dates and times are not yet set for the Mendocino County class. We invite anyone involved in agritourism in Mendocino or Lake County to join us as advisors in this planning venture. We meet by zoom, phone and email for planning. Please contact Penny Leff, or reply to this email if you would like to help or learn more.

FREE LISTING AND EVENT PROMOTION (online virtual events welcome)

We invite California farmers and ranchers operating agritourism businesses or events to complete the  directory application  or event listing form  online.

Already listed? Please check your listing and send us any changes using the update form.

Or - just add  to your email blast list to share your event news - we'll grab what we can for the calendar.

County regulatory updates
Sonoma County Urgency Ordinance allows agritourism

Sonoma County has included some agritourism activities in a new ordinance that loosens permitting restrictions during coronavirus restrictions.

The Urgency Ordinance for Agricultural Experiences says that an allowed agricultural operation may conduct an agricultural experience that complies with certain limitations, without applying for a special event permit.

This Ordinance will remain in effect until 30 days after expiration or termination of physical distancing requirements, or until this Ordinance is modified or revoked by the Board of Supervisors, whichever is sooner. Learn more here.
Siskiyou County Public Hearing on Agritourism Zoning Sept. 15

The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, at 9:00 a.m in the Board of Supervisors’ Chambers, Siskiyou County Courthouse, 311 Fourth Street, Yreka, on the Agritourism Zoning Text Amendment (Z1703)

The proposed zoning text amendment would allow limited agritourism incidental to active agricultural operations on parcels 10 acres and larger that are zoned AG-1, AG-2, and/or R-R. Agritourism uses would include but not be limited to farm tours, field days, farm sponsored hospitality dinners, educational classes, U-Pick produce
sales, and agricultural farmstays.

For more information, please contact Kirk Skierski, Planning Director, at (530) 842-
Notes from here and there...
Help Fire-devastated Farmers
Today some of our California agritourism community members are struggling to begin recovery from the fierce fires that swept through Northern California in the past weeks. Some lost homes, barns, farms, shops, acres of crops and livelihoods. Luckily few lives were lost, but recovery for many will be slow.
Here are some of the communities affected, and ways for you to offer sorely needed help
Wildfire Survivors can Register With FEMA for Assistance
The California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that wildfire survivors are now able to register for federal financial assistance through If you are impacted by the on-going wildfires in Lake, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo counties, you may be eligible for assistance from the FEMA. Grants may help eligible survivors with financial assistance that includes rent, home repair, home replacement and other disaster-related needs such as childcare, medical and dental expenses. Do not wait to register at People who suffered losses from the fires should contact their insurance companies first. Insurance delivers the majority of financial help in disasters.
Produce Exposed to Wildfire Smoke
Tips from UC Cooperative Extension Sonoma County:

When assessing the safety of exposed produce, knowing what has been burning is the key. If it is just vegetation smoke then it’s probably safe to eat produce after rinsing off the ash (just the same as having a bonfire in your garden), although it might still taste/smell smoky.

California Farm Service Agency offers "Disaster at a Glance"
California FSA shares a helpful link: Disaster At a Glance, that provides a quick summary of all of their disaster programs and a guide that shows what type of disasters they cover.

Deadline Sept. 11 for USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds farmers and ranchers that the deadline to apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) is Sept. 11, 2020. This program provides direct relief to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19.

Over 160 commodities are eligible for CFAP, including certain non-specialty crops, livestock, dairy, wool, specialty crops, eggs, aquaculture, and nursery crops and cut flowers. All eligible commodities, payment rates, and calculations can be found on Customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer general assistance.
An on-farm elderberry workshop (in these difficult times)
Cindy Lashbrook, co-owner of Riverdance Farms on the Merced River, grows organic walnuts, cherries, blueberries and more. Most years, she organizes the popular Pick and Gather Festival with U-Pick, music, vendors, education, and river fun in late May or June when blueberries and cherries are ready to pick. In 2020, due to coronavirus restrictions, ... Read more
NAFDMA members share Fall activity plans and challenges.
Members of the NAFDMA International Agritourism Association shared their discussion of Preparations for Fall 2020 Agritourism in this recent online Roundtable
Rutgers University Cooperative Extension Offers Safety Tips
Continued community transmission of COVID-19 presents challenges to many businesses, including on-farm agritourism operations. The Rutgers Cooperative Extension Agritourism Working Group developed farm assessment resources titled, Considerations for Agritourism Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic, to assist producers with agritourism activities as part of their on-farm marketing strategies. Considerations listed are designed to help operators evaluate business and management strategies that align with State executive orders and federal/state/local safety guidelines enacted to reduce possible transmission of COVID-19.
USDA Rural Development creates Recreation Economy Guide
Economic Development Resources for Rural Communities

USDA’s Forest Service (FS), Rural Development (RD), and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) have developed this resource guide for rural communities to identify resources that develop the recreation economy.

The Council on Rural Community Innovation and Economic Development was authorized to be formed in the 2018 Farm Bill, as successor to the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity. A report, Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity Report (PDF, 5.4 MB),was issued identifying the following Calls to Action:

1.Achieving e-connectivity for Rural America
2.Improving Quality of Life
3.Supporting a Rural Work Force
4.Harnessing Technological Innovation
5.Developing the Rural Economy

Resources for dealing in Covid-19 times
Some guidance & resources

  • COVID-19 Agritourism Resources on UC ANR CA Agritourism website

  • Finally, Coronavirus HR Comms & Resources Guide a crowdsourced collection of resources for HR and business leaders to help inform and support Coronavirus response plans. Here you’ll find a curated collection of public Coronavirus response communications, templates, news, remote work, hiring impact, and resources.
General Agritourism Resources
  • California Agritourism - a UC ANR website compiling information and resources for farmers, ranchers and everyone involved in California Agritourism into one easy-to-use location

  • Agritourism Intensive 2019 - agendas, handouts and presentations from the 3-session agritourism planning class offered in Calaveras and Santa Cruz Counties, Jan-Mar, 2019

  • Farm-Based Education Network - A free international member network established to strengthen and support the work of educators, farmers and community leaders providing access and experiences of all kinds on productive working farms.

  • Farm Stay U.S. -The website of the U.S. Farm Stay Association, promoting farm and ranch stays in the United States and providing resources for farm stay operators and visitors.

  • Hipcamp Landshare - rural accommodations marketing site - If you are legally permitted to offer camping, cabins, or any kind of farm stay or guest ranch on your land, these San Francisco based folks may be good marketing partners.

  • Harvest Hosts - a program that connects farms and wineries with RV owners. Invite Harvest Hosts' RV owners to park overnight on your property and benefit from the goodwill that motivates them to make purchases.

  • AgritourismReady website - Created by Ohio State University Extension: A One Stop Shop for preparing your emergency management plan

  • North American Farm Direct Marketing Association (NAFDMA) - a membership based trade association dedicated to providing endless peer-to-peer learning opportunities, connections and resources, for farmers who are passionate about the business of agritourism and farm direct marketing. 

Agritourism Program - UC SAREP
(530)752-5208 |