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Planning for agriculture is necessary for a number of reasons. One is that land suitable for agriculture is a finite resource that cannot be replaced. New agricultural land cannot be manufactured and, once converted to another use, is extremely difficult if not impossible to rehabilitate to a productive state.

Another reason is that, with a few exceptions, agricultural production can only occur on land suitable for cropping or animal production, where there is adequate water supplies or rainfall and in locations where other (sensitive) land uses are scarce.

Because agriculture is not only production activities, but includes the transport and processing of food, fibre, timber and foliage, planning must also provide access to water infrastructure and transport infrastructure for the efficient movement of commodities from farms to processing facilities and markets.

To feed a growing world and to meet the Queensland government’s aim of doubling the value of food production by 2040, planning for the growth of agriculture is essential.

Download the latest news on how the Queensland planning framework is affecting agriculture. Previous news is available here (December 2013) and here (November 2012).

Planning Principles

Local government planners, State regional planners, farmers or policy makers, should consider the following nine principles to achieve a healthy agricultural sector at the regional and local level.

  1. Agriculture in the economy
  2. The natural resource base
  3. Lot sizes for productive agriculture
  4. Land use conflict
  5. Sustainable natural resource management
  6. Diversified agricultural enterprises
  7. Infrastructure for agriculture and supply chains
  8. Support services for agriculture
  9. Multiple values of agricultural land
  10. Download Guiding Principles


Planning Toolkit

QFF has produced a planning toolkit and other publications to assist farmers, planners and policy makers to implement these principles for a healthy agricultural sector.

Download complete Toolkit 

Download Summary table

Download Guide to planning scheme provisions

Download Checklist for evaluating planning schemes


Information for Local Government

QFF is preparing a series of short videos for stakeholders with an interest in rural planning, and in particular new councillors elected at the April 2012 Local Government election.

An informative video on rural planning to inform new councillors at the 2012 Local Government election.

A farmers’ perspective on issues that impact rural planning in Queensland.

Planning expert Mick Capelin gives a run down on some of the important considerations when it comes to local government planning for rural industries.


Legislation affecting primary producers

Farmers and land managers are often confused by the wide range of regulations and legislation that affect their operations or development proposals. QFF has produced two guides to the legislation and how these affect graziers and other primary producers.

Download Guide for graziers

Download Guide for primary producers


What is Agriculture

Agriculture is the production of food, fibre, timber and foliage.  A more holistic description would include the use of natural resources to produce food, industrial raw materials and energy sources.  However agriculture is more than merely production – it includes the inputs into production, the social and environmental setting of farms and people, and the downstream transport and processing of commodities to prepare them for consumption as food, clothing, building materials and energy.

Traditional agricultural practices have included cropping, the management of pasture for livestock, and market gardening.  These practices are evolving to embrace new technologies, operational innovation, different crops and new purposes such as energy and carbon sequestration.

The following definition of agriculture has been adopted in this document:

Agriculture  – Any activity connected with the growing of food, fibre, timber and foliage  including, but not limited to, cropping*, intensive horticulture*, animal husbandry*, intensive animal industry*, animal keeping*, aquaculture*, permanent plantation* wholesale nursery*, production nursery, roadside stall*, winery* and rural industry*; and also including ancillary activities concerned with accommodation of farm workers, visitors and tourists; the storage of water; irrigation and drainage works; the storage of equipment for the production and transport of agricultural products; and the on-farm processing, packaging, storage and sale of agricultural products.

The uses marked with an asterisk in this definition are drawn from definitions in the Queensland Planning Provisions.

Download Definition of agriculture


Case studies

Case studies have been conducted to illustrate the issues encountered by the agricultural sector in engaging with planning processes. These case studies have been chosen to represent the broad range of industry sectors, regions and planning processes that intersect to influence land use and environmental outcomes.

Download all case studies

Download aquaculture case study

Download sand mining case study

Download horticulture case study

Download dairy agri-tourism case study

Download cotton floodplain case study

Download poultry case study

Download grain transport case study


Best practice examples

Each of the principles in the toolkit can be illustrated by best practice examples of good planning in Queensland.

Principle 1

Download Douglas Planning Scheme DROs

Download Southern Downs Planning Scheme Strategic Intent

Download Temporary State Planning Policy 2/12 extract

Download Wide Bay Burnett Regional Plan Rural Futures

Principle 2

Download Queensland Agricultural Land Audit

Download Southern Downs Planning Scheme Strategic Framework

Download State Planning Policy 1/12 Strategic Cropping Land

Download State Planning Policy 1/92 (expired) Good Quality Agricultural Land

Principle 3

Download Far North Queensland Regional Plan Rural Subdivision

Download Southern Downs Planning Scheme Subdivision

Principle 4

Download Ipswich City Transferable Dwelling Entitlements

Download Reverse Amenity

Principle 5

Download Grazing Environmental Risk Management Plan

Principle 8

Download Southern Downs Planning Scheme Settlement Pattern

Download Wide Bay Burnett Regional Plan Town and Cities Structure and Form

Principle 9

Download Southern Downs Planning Scheme Landscape and Environment

Download Wide Bay Burnett Regional Plan Landscapes


Regional Land Use

Data collected in the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2009-10 Agricultural Resource Management survey showed that approximately 52 per cent of Australia’s total land area was managed by agricultural businesses. Queensland had the largest land area managed by agriculture business, approximately 75 percent of the state.

A regional breakdown of agricultural businesses and land use is presented below based on data from Australian Bureau of Statistics, Land Management and Farming in Australia, 2009-10, cat. no. 4627.0.

The full document, prepared for the Local Government Association of Queensland, can be viewed here.

Rural Planning Project

QFF is undertaking a project to improve the capacity of rural industries to engage in state, regional and local planning processes. Project details are here.