Richmond Valley sets sights on becoming an exciting agri-food hub

RICHMOND Valley farmers, producers and rural land owners are invited to learn more about ways they can diversify and develop the potential of their farm businesses at the Richmond Valley Made Paddock to Plate Field Day on Wednesday 24 February from 9.30am to 1.30pm.

At the field day, to be held in the Casino Community Centre, business owners will discover opportunities on farm and beyond the farm gate and learn from the experiences of local producers on the path to developing their businesses. Topics will include:

  • exploring options for leveraging farm assets and/or current production
  • investigating ideas for diversification or value adding
  • developing new pathways to market
  • potential for tapping into the visitor economy.

Field Day participants will also be able to apply for a six-month business development program.

Commissioned by Richmond Valley Council, as part of the Australian Government Drought Communities Program, the Richmond Valley Made Paddock to Plate initiative will be delivered by agritourism and agribusiness specialists Regionality and will include a series of six full-day workshops, designed to support farmers and food producers to develop their business concepts.

Richmond Valley Council believes the region has enormous potential to build on its strengths and to develop an exciting agri-food economy.

Council’s General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said the Richmond Valley was known for its rich agricultural heritage, and with multiple food producers and farmers living and working in the area, it was evident agritourism was an untapped market.

Mr Macdonald said the creation of new agritourism experiences could well see visitation increase in areas of the Valley which generally had low visitor numbers.

He said the Richmond Valley Made Paddock to Plate would provide the opportunity to showcase the vast array of produce grown in the region by local farmers and food producers.

“Event and recreation agritourism are fast becoming popular among travellers and the Richmond Valley has a number of established agritourism-based events such as Beef Week, Primex, and the newly founded Hooked on Evans,” Mr Macdonald said.

“The overall aim of the Richmond Valley Made Paddock-to-Plate Collaborative is to create a new experience while at the same time develop regional prosperity and opportunity by supporting the agriculture, food and tourism sectors.”

Regionality managing director Rose Wright said the Agritourism/Agribusiness Development Program was an opportunity to investigate possibilities to diversify or innovate existing farm businesses, with the potential to provide an alternative or additional income stream or succession planning opportunity to keep family members on the land.

“Richmond Valley has a long agricultural heritage, however, it also has untapped potential to innovate, creating new opportunities for high-value agricultural and value-added food and fibre products,” Ms Wright said.

Ms Wright said there were many opportunities to create high-value agricultural and food products through diversification or creating layers of value by developing a branded product and creating new pathways to market, or directly to the consumer.

“There are so many options and alternatives; the Agritourism/Agribusiness Development Program will help the region and individual farmers to innovate and become more resilient in an ever changing world,” she said.

Farmer and food entrepreneurs interested in being part of an agri-food cluster and being supported through the Agritourism/Agribusiness Development Program are invited to register for the field day on Wednesday 24 February at https://richmondvalleypaddock2platefieldday.eventbrite.com.au Attendance is free and refreshments will be provided.

For further information on the field day and development program, please contact Regionality on 0437 249 345 or email info@regionality.com.au

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