The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) are pleased to announce that 9 primary producers from around the state have been successful in securing grants in round 1 of the Queensland Agritourism Grants Program.
Grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 were awarded to support innovative agritourism ventures right across Queensland from Barcaldine, Hinchinbrook and Cunnamulla through to the South East and Granite Belt regions.
The program was heavily subscribed with over $1.5M in applications for the $150K funds available, reflecting the growing interest of farmers looking to agritourism as a viable business diversification strategy.
QFF CEO Jo Sheppard said, “we are seeing more and more farmers looking at agritourism opportunities to include in their farming enterprises.”
“During the past couple of years, we have seen a renewed interest from domestic tourists taking their holidays in the regions exploring country towns and learning about the industries that underpin these communities including agriculture.”
“Farmers who are including an agritourism offering within their existing enterprise are not only successfully diversifying their business, but also playing a vital role in educating their out-of-town visitors on food, fibre and foliage production.”
In 2020 DAF established a $2 million agribusiness diversification project as part of the Queensland Government’s Unite and Recover: Economic Recovery Plan, to build capability and explore potential diversification opportunities in agricultural businesses.
With DAF’s support, QFF partnered with agritourism specialists Regionality Pty Ltd to research and develop the Queensland Agritourism Roadmap that identified both the barriers to, and opportunities for, agritourism growth across the state. The three core themes were, and remain: Strategic Leadership; Regulatory and Policy Reform; and Agritourism Sector Development.
In an effort to support farmers in their agritourism endeavours, QFF partnered with DAF to deliver the Queensland Agritourism Grants Program offering a 50 per cent co-contribution up to a maximum of $25,000 to match farmer’s funds. The purpose of this grant was to assist farmers to establish or expand into agritourism by employing professional or specialist services or constructing or modifying on-farm infrastructure.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said the collaboration between DAF and QFF, to co-fund farmers to establish or expand their agritourism businesses, was one of the mechanisms the Queensland Government was using to support the growth of agritourism in Queensland.
“The grants have been awarded for the development or expansion of agritourism businesses through the provision of professional or specialist consultancy services, or construction or modification of on-farm infrastructure,” Minister Furner said.
“Nine agritourism development workshops have also been conducted across the State under this initiative, making a real difference to farmers on how they approach the tourism part of their agritourism business, and to understand what resources are available to them.
“Together with the Taste Farm Life campaign I launched last year to influence tourists and travellers to visit food and farm experiences, this Unite and Recover initiative is providing real gains for rural and regional Queensland. “
The program has been a great success and both QFF and DAF congratulate the successful agritourism businesses and look forward to working closely with farmers and rural communities to further develop sustainable agritourism opportunities.