Annual agritourism award entries sought

CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Department of Agriculture is seeking entries for the 2014 Agritourism Media Awards. The annual awards celebrate and recognize excellence in advertising and promotion of West Virginia Agritourism destinations and attractions. Deadline for submissions is Feb. 14, 2014. There is no entry fee. The winners will be honored at the West Virginia Small Farms Conference at The Waterfront Hotel in Morgantown, Feb. 27-March 1, 2014.

Media categories include brochures, rack cards, photos, websites and social media campaigns. Ribbons will be presented during the conference luncheon on Feb. 27. Examples of qualified West Virginia agribusiness awards include pick-your-own and orchard operations, wineries/breweries/distilleries, agricultural fairs or festivals, hay mazes and bed and breakfast operations.

West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick calls the development and recognition of agritourism as a niche farm market critical.

“The economic impact of tourism in West Virginia was $5.1 billion in 2012,” Helmick said. “Interest in attractions, events and activities associated with our farms and rural communities is high. We have seen investment, growth and development in the agritourism sector and celebrate marketing excellence throughout West Virginia.”

New competition categories this year include “West Virginia Bed and Breakfasts” and “Excellence in Agritourism Social Media Campaigns.”

Entry materials should be mailed to: WVDA Parkersburg Field Office, 1412 Blizzard Dr., Parkersburg, WV 26101, and be postmarked no later than Feb. 14. Entries will be displayed for the duration of the Small Farms Conference and submissions and ribbons will be mailed back afterward.

For entry forms or additional information, contact WVDA marketing specialist-promotions, Debra Gard, at 304-483-4027 or dgard@wvda.us. For more information about the Small Farms Conference, visit smallfarmcenter.ext.wvu.edu/conference.

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