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Credit: J.Robinson (@Spring Bay Mill)

tasmania’s small-scale farmers planning a big future

Media Release – Sep 2021

The first comprehensive survey of Tasmania’s small-scale food producers has found more than half of them are planning to invest over $100,000 in their businesses in the next five years.

The survey, by non-profit advocacy group Sprout Tasmania, also revealed 86 per cent of small producers were using sustainable farming practices.

Sprout general manager Jennifer Robinson said the sector was growing from strength-to-strength, thanks in large part to support from local consumers.

“We know Tasmanians like to buy and eat local, which has been a godsend for many during the COVID upheaval,” Mrs Robinson said.

“Our survey shows 60 per cent of small-scale producers sell direct to customers and into the hospitality sector, about a third sell online and at the farm gate.”

Sprout Tasmania’s annual Producer Program, now in its seventh year, has supported more than 40 producers grow and strengthen their businesses, through a year-long on-farm education and networking program.

“Its incredible seeing the participants flourish,” Sprout’s Producer Liaison Ollie Benson said.

“Our earliest graduates include award winners such as Longley Organic Farm, Campo de Flori and Big River Highland Beef.”

Three Peaks Organics farm owner Trish MacFarlane took part in the Sprout Producer Program in 2015 and said it had been invaluable.

“It is the entire reason our farm is where it is today,” she said. “If it was not for ongoing support and guidance from Sprout, we may well have closed our doors by now.”

The Sprout Producer Program is open to any small-scale producer, at any stage of growth.

Scholarships for the next program, starting in January 2022, are open for applications at sprout.org.au (closing 27 September 2021).