Agritourism is the latest marketing strategy Dubbo Regional Council has embraced to encourage visitors to spend more time in the region.
The Regional Platters Agriculture Project is a collaboration with nine local government areas to connect agricultural producers with visitors.
Council economic development officer Jacki Parish said there was an increasing desire for people to know where their food was coming from, and this would provide that to tourists.
As well as keeping tourists in the area, it would be another income stream for farmers, Ms Parish said.
“You go on the farm and you see the livestock and you can buy the steak. It connects people with the product,” she said.
It was an untapped resource in the region, she said, that would be marketed to group travellers and private tours.
“We’re looking at it from a group tourist point of view. They don’t just want you and I popping in from down the road when they’re trying to get their cattle in,” Ms Parish said.
In the long term, it would also draw investors, she said.
“They might see some processes at an abattoir that could be world class and we didn’t even know it,” she said.
The initiative is planned to connect with businesses in Warren, Cobar, Coonamble, Bogan, Warrumbungle, Narromine, Gilgandra, Mid-Western and Dubbo local government areas.
A contribution of $20,000 has come from the Murray Darling Enterprise Fund, while Dubbo Regional Council has added another $5,000 for it to be expanded.
Regional Development Orana has been contacted to contribute an additional $10,000.
“When [Barwon MP] Kevin Humphries announced we were successful, he was mostly impressed by the fact that regions working together can achieve great things,” Ms Parish said.
The initiative has been in the Destination Market Plan for four years however its been seriously developed in the past 12 months.
It’s only at the embryonic stage right now, Ms Parish said, but it’s on track to be ready next year.
“You don’t open a store unless you’re ready for business and we want to be ready for business,” she said.
About 50 primary producers have indicated they would like to be involved in the project Ms Parish said, across a wide range of businesses from grain farmers to a scotch distillery.
“With the change in people’s attitudes to food and desire to know where their food is coming from, how it is farmed and continued growth in food trends, the timing for the region to embrace the paddock to plate experience has never been more pertinent.”