Dean Ihla Named to NAPA Board of Directors

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Bismarck, N.D. – Dean Ihla, tourism development manager at North Dakota’s Department of Commerce Tourism Division, has been named to the National Agritourism Professionals Association (NAPA) board of directors.

NAPA adopted its formal bylaws and elected its board and officers at a meeting in Nashville, Tenn. The association provides industry resources and support to help agritourism farms work through regulatory and policy challenges. NAPA also serves as a network among state, regional, national and continental government agencies to create opportunities for agritourism professionals and service providers, farmers and farm direct marketers in the promotion of their agritourism farms.

“I look forward to continuing to promote agritourism throughout North Dakota,” Ihla said. “With such a prominent agriculture industry, our state has tremendous opportunity to share unique experiences and to help bring agriculture to life for those living in other areas. I am also pleased to continue sharing the resources NAPA has to offer that help elevate the capabilities of the agritourism industry.”

Melissa Hunt, with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, was elected Chair and Pamela Bartholomew, Department of Agriculture in Tennessee, was named Vice Chair. Sue Stringer, Kansas Byways and Agritourism Office, was named Secretary, and Mark Newman, Indiana Office of Tourism Development, was appointed Treasurer.

In addition to Ihla, other board members are Diane Handley of Illinois, Beth Hubbard of Michigan, Anna Lyles of New Mexico, Jackie Moore of South Carolina, Becky Smith of Mississippi, Tom Tweite of Minnesota, Marsha Salzwedel of Wisconsin and Amelia Wilson of Kentucky.

“NAPA will help policy-makers more effectively understand the needs of agritourism farmers and direct farm markets in the U.S. and Canada,” NAPA Executive Director Martha Glass said, “Regulations will ensure the welfare of the visiting public, as well as help the agricultural and tourism industry bring more visitors to farms and educate them of the importance of our agricultural life, as well as introduce them to the farm experience – a vital part of our two country’s heritage. Local officials already realize the importance of this growing agricultural industry and want to help it thrive.”

Annual membership to NAPA is $100 and is open to any farm, ranch or agency involved providing or promoting agritourism.  More information is available on the NAPA website at

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