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In 2012, 174 farms in West Virginia generated about $US1.2 million in ag tourism up from 112 farms and $US970,000 in 2007, according to the USDA. The West Virginia University Extension Service will do an ag tourism study starting within the next few months to determine its impact on tax revenues, jobs and income, said Doolarie Singh Knights, an assistant professor Men Nike Shoes Tumblr

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"Local food systems are growing throughout Appalachia, and their growth is making important economic contributions in rural communities," said Earl F Gohl, who co chairs the commission along with West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.

Orr Dove said that ag tourism represented a good opportunity to help West Virginia's economy.

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Ag tourism is one of agriculture's fasting growing sectors, said Kelly Smith, marketing and commodities director at the Missouri Farm Bureau.

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´╗┐Ag tourism to boost rural economies

Linda Losey, who had never owned a farm before, started Bloomery Plantation Distillery in 2011 after deciding to try her hand at making limoncello, an Italian lemon liqueur. The distillery uses many of its home grown Nike Shoes Red For Men products in its drinks "Moonshine Milkshake" and hard lemonade among them plucking fresh raspberries, pumpkin, lemons and ginger.

In July, the Appalachian Regional Commission, a federal agency charged with promoting economic development, launched a map and guide of nearly 300 farmers markets, vineyards, farm to fork restaurants and other destinations in an effort to boost the industry. The map and guide were published in Food Traveler Magazine and online.

About 25km away in Martinsburg, West Virginia, family farm George S Orr Sons added a retail market in 1995. Retail sales now generate about 15 per cent of the business, up from five per cent just seven Nike Running Shoes Design

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"The possibilities are endless," Orr Dove said. "West Virginia is known for being mountainous farmlands. And there are a lot of people who have small farms already."

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statistics. But that's still a sliver compared to some other, more traditional forms of tourism; for example, visitors to national parks spent about $US14.6 billion in communities within 100km in 2013.

Orr Dove said the increase in retail sales was sparked by the "buy local" movement.

"People started having a greater interest in finding locally grown fruits and vegetables and they started looking for us," she said. "At about the same time, we decided we wanted to reach out more and increased our advertising, our website, our e newsletter."

"We'll max out here. All the growth will be in external markets," he said.

years ago, said retail market manager Katy Orr Dove. The rest is mostly wholesale fruit sold to grocery stores.

FARMS engaging in ag tourism generated roughly $US700 million ($A757.37 million) in West Virginia in 2012 a 24 per cent increase over five years, according to the most recent US Agriculture Department Nike Sneakers Tumblr Men

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at the extension.

Now, the business generates nearly $US1 million in annual sales and employs 14 people. Until about a year ago, 97 per cent of its business was selling onsite, but that's changing, said Rob Losey, Linda's ex husband and business partner. The split is now 80 20, and Losey said that number will continue to shift.

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