2019 Agri/Eco Tourism Workshop


Hosted by Nebraska Tourism Commission



Audience: Anyone wanting to start or grow a successful agri/eco tourism business. Typical attendees include farmers, ranchers, outfitters, vineyard operators, u-pick operators, managers of eco-tourism attractions, chamber/tourism directors, and more.

Workshop Activities:

  • Get behind-the-scenes tours of successful agri/eco tourism businesses, including Calamus Outfitters, Rowse's 1+1 Ranch and Comstock Premier Lodge. Meet agri/eco tourism business owners and taste local food, wine and beer.

  • Attend engaging educational sessions focused on effective marketing, business sustainability, and more. Walk away with practical tips you can start implementing right away.

  • Learn what resources are available to all Nebraska agri/eco tourism businesses.

  • Network with other Nebraskans working in the agri/eco tourism industry. Make lasting, beneficial connections.

Registration Options

1.) Tuesday: Free or $15 with meal
Tourism Commissioners Meeting (meeting is free and open to the public, meal to follow is $15 in addition to workshop registration)

2.) Full Conference Registration: $100
   Ranch Tours, Taste & Feel Event, Workshop and Sponsor Exhibition (Includes materials, meals - with the exception of Tuesday's, breaks, and all activities)

3.) Wednesday Only: $55
Ranch Tours and Taste & Feel Event (Includes materials, meals, and breaks)

4.) Thursday Only: $75
Workshop and Sponsor Exhibition (Includes materials, meals, and breaks)


Workshop Registration

Registration form and payment must be received by Friday, February 22, 2019.

To register for the workshop:

  1. Fill out a registration form and mail it back  - or - 
  2. Fill out the online registration at this link: Online Registration

* Please note that online registrations require a 10% transaction fee in addition to the amount of the registration.

If you have any questions about registration, contact Bryce Arens at 402-471-3796 or [email protected]



Cobblestone Inn & Suites

127 Trotter Ave

Ord, NE  68862


  • Ask for the Ag/Eco Workshop Rate
  • Reservations must be booked by Feb. 26, 2019
  • $79.99 per room per night + tax
  • This rate includes overnight accommodation and breakfast buffet

Additional Lodging Options



Tuesday, February 26

3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.  Nebraska Tourism Commission Meeting* at Bootleg Brewers, 45145 829th Rd, Taylor, NE 68879
*Meeting is free and open to the public.

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.  Social & Dinner* at Bootleg Brewers
*Dinner is $15 and must be paid in advance. Please add this additional payment to your registration fee if you plan to attend.

Wednesday, February 27

7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.  Registration Open

7:45 a.m.  Buses depart Trotter Event Center for Ranch Tours

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.  Lunch

4:40 p.m. – 5:20 p.m.  Buses return to Cobblestone Inn & Suites/Trotter Event Center

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.  Taste & Feel of Nebraska featuring Michel Marlin’s Comedy & Trajectory

Thursday, February 28

7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.  Registration Open / Sponsor Exhibition Booths Open

9:00 a.m.  Workshop Welcome

9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.  Keynote Session: If You Don’t Build It, They Will Come, Michael Marlin

10:30 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.  Networking/Sponsor Exhibition Break

10:50 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.  Morning Breakout Sessions:

  • Upping Your Customer Service Game, Adam Lackner
  • Using Tourism to Diversify Your Business MixDoolarie (Dee) Singh-Knights
  • Website & Brand Development for Beginners, Steve & Ann Teget

12:05 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Lunch

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.  Keynote Session: Cranes, Plains and a Watershed, Michael Forsberg & Sarah Sortum

1:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.  Afternoon Breakout Sessions:

  • Scaling-up & Negotiating Land Leases, Adam Lackner
  • Partnering with Game and Parks, TJ Walker
  • The Business of Photography, Brad Mellema

3:00 p.m. – 3:20 p.m.  Networking/Sponsor Exhibition Break

3:20 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.  Discussion Panel: Tammy Rowse, Roxanne & Mitch Huggins, & Sarah Sortum

5:30 p.m.  Pizza Palace Social Event at Scratchtown Brewing Company

7:00 p.m.  Performance at the Golden Husk – Map of My Kingdom: Who’s going to get the farm?

Ranch Tours

Calamus Outfitters
The Switzer Ranch, located in Loup County, is home to Bruce and Sue Ann Switzer, and their grown children, Adam Switzer and Sarah Sortum along with their respective families. Located primarily in upland Sandhills range, it operated as a traditional cow/calf ranch until around the year 2000. At that time, the Switzer family added additional revenue streams to enable the next generation to live and work on the ranch. Currently, the Switzer Ranch runs a diversified cattle operation consisting of custom grazing, custom backgrounding and short term cow programs. The Switzer Ranch is also home to Calamus Outfitters, a nature based tourism destination offering lodging, river trips (tanks, tubes, canoes and kayaks), birdwatching, hunting, jeep tours and specialty events.

Comstock Lodge
The impressive 8500 sq-ftComstock Premier Lodge LLC was built in 2000 and purchased by Mitch and Roxanne Huggins in 2009. The goal was to create an environment that could be enjoyed by every outdoor enthusiast. The lodge serves as a year-round Bed & Breakfast, featuring 10 rentable rooms and several spacious outdoor seating areas for guests to enjoy the amazing hilltop view of the property and its roaming game from every vantage point. As an outfitting business, Comstock offers elk, whitetail deer, mule deer, turkey, pheasant, quail, dove, prairie chicken, sharptail grouse, Hungarian partridge, hybridized bighorn sheep, bison and aoudad hunts on their 3,000-acre ranch. Hunters come from all over the world to enjoy the hunting activities and the luxury lodge. The Nebraska hospitality is just an added bonus!

Rowse's 1+1
Jerry and Tammy Rowse own and manage more than 7,000 acres of prime ranch land near Burwell, Nebraska. Its location in the heart of the Sandhills, the largest sand dune formation in North America, is one of breathtaking beauty. At 1+1 Ranch, they don’t offer head-to-tail trail rides, yoga, golf, or spa days. They’re a working cattle ranch – not giving people the opportunity to play cowboy, but become one. A stay at the Rowse’s ranch is a firsthand lesson on how to work, rope, brand, drive, and sort cattle, all while mounted on a trained quarter horse that’s yours for as long as you stay. By limiting the number of guests they take on at any one given time, the ranch cultivates an authentic, up-close and personal experience unlike any other. They’ve built themselves a 5 star Trip Advisor rating with a reputation for wide open spaces, genuine hospitality, phenomenal horses, and unparalleled riding opportunities.


Speaker Bios

Michael ForsbergPlatte Basin Timelapse Project

Adam Lackner, Brush Buck Wildlife Tours

Michael Marlin"Luma: Art in Darkness"

Brad Mellema, Executive Director, Grand Island Tourism & Visitours Bureau

Doolarie (Dee) Singh-Knights, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Agribusiness Economics and Management, West Virginia University

Sarah Sortum, Calamus Outfitters

Steve & Ann Teget, postcardjar.com

TJ Walker, Nebraska Game & Parks Wildlife Division


Taste & Feel of Nebraska

Event Description

Event Application





Sponsorship Packet



Scaling & Distribution - Adam Lackner

Tricks to Staffing Your Business to Replace Yourself - Adam Lackner

Upping Your Customer Service Game - Adam Lackner

Using Tourism to Diversify Your Business Mix - Dee Singh-Knights

Website & Brand Development - Steve & Ann Teget