Sowing the Seeds of Innovation, an agritourism forum, will incentivise and motivate those who want to "get off the ground" with their existing or potential tourism project, offering the chance to meet with key figures in the agritourism industry.
The first networking-style event of its kind in the region will be held on Monday, November 6, at Springfield Woolshed, Spring Ridge, to bring community members, businesses and those interested in agritourism together to discuss how they can plant the seeds to diversify and increase the sustainability of their current operation.
The Plains Inc. partnered with Destination Country and Outback NSW in June 2023 to bring this vision to life.
Seasonal changes and unforeseen weather events affect commercial farming operations' stability across NSW. With an El Nino expected to bring dry weather and unfavourable conditions, many farmers are already actioning their drought-prevention strategies - such as slashing near-ready crops or not sowing at all.
This will have immense economic impact on farming regions like the Liverpool Plains and its neighbours across the New England North West, Upper Hunter and Central West.
Agritourism presents itself as a prosperous opportunity for regional communities. According to the CSIRO, the annual opportunity for agritourism in Australia is expected to reach $5.6 billion by 2030 - including $3.6 billion by international visitors and $1.9 billion spent by domestic travellers. Cross-industry growth between accommodation, transport and retail sectors is expected to be collectively valued at $18.6 billion by 2030.
To help attendees tap into the agritourism industry, guests at the forum will include Rose Wright - director and founder of Regionality Australia; Carl Solomon - Destination Marketing Store; Nicole McNaughton - CEO of Food + Agribusiness Network Sunshine Coast; and Holly Goodman - Rural Advocate, Small Business Champion and Content Creator. Craig Carter from Accountable Agriculture and existing members of The Plains Inc., including Tania Hartigan, manager of Art Shack @ Wilgabah and Clare Lee, manager of agritourism at Windy Station Woolshed and chair of The Plains Inc., will speak to agritourism and its implementation in their unique businesses.
"There is so much to offer in our region. The Liverpool Plains is an agricultural powerhouse. The Plains Inc believes that we can create prosperity for our community by working together to share our story, produce, and region with the world," Ms Lee said.
"The Plains Inc. strives towards a borderless tourism approach, and we value community leadership, generosity and inclusiveness, innovation, environmental stewardship and resilience. We encourage anyone and everyone to attend this wonderful event; I guarantee you will walk away with either a new network contact or an action for your idea or business."
Established in 2020, The Plains Inc is a not-for-profit group that works to strengthen the presence of agritourism within the Liverpool Plains and beyond.
It combines passionate community members and business owners who meet regularly to discuss, share and bring ideas to life on how to best promote the Liverpool Plains and businesses as a landmark destination.
For more information, visit The Plains Inc's website: https://theplains.com.au/
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.