Inland rural amenity landscapes in Australia are undergoing a transition, with food and fibre production impacted by increasing rural populations and land use changes. Farmers face challenges and opportunities; from increased land prices, subdivision of land, more diverse communities, to competition for water resources, changing commodity markets and community expectations. Using a qualitative case study of Indigo Shire in North East Victoria, this chapter explores the perspectives of farmers, local and state government officers, councillors and agribusiness representatives on food production in an amenity landscape. Farmers were generally optimistic about their respective industries due to market access and local production advantages despite rising land values and succession uncertainties. Farm product diversification, value-adding, on-farm sales, local marketing, food-tourism and agri-economic development strategies were seen as important avenues to maintain and enhance the functionality of food production. Whilst local and state government representatives acknowledged the economic importance of agriculture, the results revealed a loss of government connection with the farming community. If amenity landscapes are to continue producing food for both local consumption and export, a more proactive governance approach is needed to engage with the farming community.
|Title of host publication||Food Security in Australia|
|Subtitle of host publication||challenges and prospects for the future|
|Editors||Quentin Farmer-Bowers, Joanne Millar, Vaughan Higgins|
|Place of Publication||United Kingdom|
|Number of pages||13|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|