Agri-tourism has become a big part of what draws tourists from across the country to our state. Agri-tourism consists of touring a working farm and learning about what that operation specializes in. Not only do the tours help tourists to get an inside look into various farming operations, but it also helps the farmer to gain extra income. There are many farms that are registered to be featured in these tours across Western North Carolina. Walnut Hollow Ranch, a black angus cattle ranch owned and operated by Charlie Kissling in Hayesville, NC, is one of the most diverse farms featured in our region. In addition to these tours, Walnut Hollow Ranch sells premium black angus beef produced on the ranch, hosts cooking classes and pasture walks, provides horseback riding, and offers RV and tent camping to visitors.
In 2016, Kissling received a $1,400.29 TVA Energy for Farms Grant from Southwestern NC RC&D Council to replace the pre-existing trim and gaskets around the 7 overhead doors in the farm’s shop building to make the building more energy efficient. “This project has enabled the farm to save a significant amount of money in energy costs,” said Kissling. “It helps prevent the plumbing within the building from freezing in the winter months and eliminates the draft that was causing us to heat more within the shop.”
Kissling take pride in Walnut Hollow Ranch’s role in energy efficiency. In 2014, Walnut Hollow Ranch given the 2014 Regional WNC Conservation Farm Family of the Year Award by The NC Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Walnut Hollow Ranch was also the first business in Clay County to receive recognition from the NC Department of Environmental Quality for the superb example of sustainable and efficient agriculture that Kissling’s ranch has set for our region. “Our main goal here on the ranch is to be an example to others of how a ranch can be functional as well as efficient,” said Kissling. “Just by knowing what grants are available can open all new doors to improvements that will make a major impact on how your business operates.”
To learn more about Walnut Hollow Ranch, please visit www.walnuthollowranch.com.