The NSW government is making it easier for farmers to use their land for agritourism.
Hear from some NSW farmers about the new activities they’ll setup on their farms to make additional income and add value to their existing agricultural operations.
The changes support sustainable tourism giving people more reasons to visit regional and rural NSW.
Agritourism changes to help small family business
Changes to planning rules are helping Ingrid & John Padovano create additional income such as running a café on their farm.
Agritourism changes future proof farms
Bio-dynamic sheep farmer Vince Heffernan says changes to planning rules will help him setup on-farm accommodation for tourists.
Agritourism changes support more Indigenous experiences
Changes to planning rules are helping Tania & Rodney Hartigan set up and run Aboriginal experiences for tourists on their farm.
Fictional case studies
Sarah is a third-generation grain farmer with a large farm on land zoned RU1 and though her farm is currently not in production because of drought, it will be again in the future.
Sarah wants to generate income by renting out two old workers cottages for couples to stay in overnight or let small groups camp on the property for a few days at a time.
Under the changes, Sarah would be able to change the approved use of the cottages from farm workers accommodation to farm stay accommodation as exempt development and renovate the cottages as complying development, as long as she complies with the specified development standards. Exempt and complying development is a lot quicker, less costly and more straight forward than the development application process.
Sarah will also be able to set up an area on her property for camping without planning or building approval. She could have up to 20 campers on her farm at a time who could stay for up to 21 consecutive days.
In the future, Sarah’s cottages could be reverted from farm stay accommodation back to farm workers accommodation under exempt development.
Malik has an orchid with biodynamic produce (mainly stone fruit and apples) on land zoned RU4.
Malik wants to build a small roadside stall next to his driveway where he can sell a few trays of fruit and maybe some jam. If this goes well, he would like to have a small shop on his land where he can sell fruit, and make and sell his jams and some cider.
Under the changes, Malik could build a roadside stall as exempt development and build a small shop under complying development rules as a farm gate premises, provided he complies with all the development standards. For the roadside stall, Malik could have a structure on his property that is up to 9sqm. A shop could be up to 200sqm and open 8am-5pm on Sunday-Friday and public holidays and 7am-5pm on Saturday.
In the future, if he wants to build something larger that might have greater impacts on his neighbours, he could lodge a development application with his local council.
The Taylors own a small sheep farm in on land zoned RU1 specialising in organic meat products, but their real passion is cheese making.
The Taylor family want to construct a small building to run workshops and teach others how to make cheese, as well as give tours of the property to show off the farm and the environmental restoration they have been doing.
The agritourism changes will make it easier for the Taylors to attract visitors to their farm for tours while still running their main agriculture business. They could erect a new building that is up to 200sqm to run classes under complying development planning rules (as a farm gate premises). They could conduct tours around their property to showcase their environmental restoration work and farming practices under exempt development rules (as a farm experience premises). The Taylors could have up to 100 visitors at a time on their property to attend classes and an unlimited number of visitors for tours.
If they would like to expand their business, they could lodge a development application with their local council.
Shannon is a sustainable commercial farmer who owns a small farm on land zoned RU2.
Shannon would like to offer workshops to small groups about sustainable food production, natural resource management and climate resilience, but is not sure whether there will be sufficient demand for the workshops in his area.
Under the agritourism changes, Shannon could hold workshops for up to 100 people at a time as a farm gate premises under exempt development planning rules. He could put up a marquee or use an existing building to see how the business goes, provided he complies with the relevant development standards. He could also erect a building or other permanent structure of up to 200sqm to undertake his workshops through the complying development planning pathway. Shannon will not need a development application to offer these workshops unless he wants to setup a larger building, allow more people to attend, or he can’t meet all the standards for exempt or complying development.
Page last updated: 01/02/2023