South Dakota agritourism connects tourists with agriculture

South Dakota agritourism connects tourists with agriculture

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota Department of Tourism and State University Extension are working together to create opportunities with the two largest industries in the state — agriculture and tourism.

They’ve created an ‘agritourism’ program for farm, ranch owners and others who want to connect tourists with agriculture and help them see where local food and beverages come from.

“People don’t have that connection to agriculture anymore. It used to be, everybody had grandpa and grandma at home on a farm or ranch and they could go visit grandpa and grandma and learn about animals and where their food comes from and where their fiber comes from, in reality, that doesn’t exist anymore,” Peggy Schlechter, a field specialist with SDSU Extension tells KOTA-TV.

Bear Butte Gardens is an organic, small family farm near Sturgis.

“For us, it’s providing a location where customers that have an interest in small-scale farming can stop and actually have a conversation with the farmers themselves, the owners, and a lot of opportunities for education,” said Michelle Grosek, co-owner of the business.

The Belle Joli Winery near Deadwood is another enterprise that invites tourists to visit and learn about the wine-making process.

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