Until now, visitors to rural parts of Australia have had no simple way to visit farms unless they have personal connections with farmers. Visit My Farm (VMF), an innovative business concept being trialled by NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) in the early months of 2017, aims to strengthen the connection between rural and urban people, increase the number of farm visits, and offer a new income stream for farmers.
The VMF online platform gives visitors to rural areas the opportunity to book unique agricultural experiences directly with local farmers. The idea is that food and fibre consumers get to spend a couple of hours, or a day, on the farm, reconnecting with where their food and clothing comes from, and cash-strapped primary producers get a few extra dollars in their pockets.
NSW DPI’s new agri-tourism concept Visit My Farm, Phase One of which is now underway, has been signing on “all types of farmers – big and small!” to become farm hosts for its two-month trial of the VMF initiative in early 2017.
Farmers keen to test out having visitors pay to come and see how they farm and what they do have been signing up to the VMF’s database of hosts.
“Visitors won't be staying overnight but you will need to provide them with some kind of simple farm-based experience,” notes NSW DPI on the Visit My Farm website. “It doesn't have to be elaborate, as just being on a farm for some visitors will be memorable, and this trial is about connecting visitors with people like you, who live on the land. The type and size of your farm is not a factor – everyone is welcome to be a part of the trial.”
Though a little time and forethought are required, there are no costs for participating farmers; and all proceeds from farm visits go to the hosts.
NSW DPI will have the Visit My Farm website up and running complete with farm profiles soon; farm visits will be scheduled over the early months of 2017.