Frequently Asked Questions

To retain opportunities for agriculture to grow, our Department provides advice to planning consent authorities and industry groups to support sustainable resource use and production opportunities.

DPI has a policy to maintain land for agricultural industries (PDF, 58.18 KB) which aims to guide the planning system in providing certainty and security for agricultural enterprises.

Strategic land use planning enquiries, intensive agricultural developments and major projects that may impact on agricultural resources or industries.
Consent authorities are no longer required to seek formal advice from Agriculture NSW on matters associated with routine local development (eg subdivision, extractive industries). Refer to our development assessment information on these.

The Agricultural statistics webpage provides some statistical summaries of agricultural industries using ABS data. This can assist in planning for existing and future agricultural industries.

It is important to recognise that such data has significant limitations. In particular ABS data does not represent the total value of agriculture in a given area. Instead it provides an estimate of the wholesale value of unprocessed farm products (at the farm gate). This grossly underestimates the value of agriculture.

Yes – for the Far North Coast and Mid North Coast regions maps are available that identify regional and state significant farmland. These are available on the Department of Planning & Infrastructures webpage under the respective regional strategies.

There are also maps available for some local government areas within the Central West and Upper Hunter. Refer to our webpage on Agricultural Mapping for more details.

The minimum lot size is the area of land that is required for a dwelling (house) to be permitted on a newly created or an existing vacant lot in a Council Local Environmental Plan (LEP).

More information is available on the NSW Government's Strategic Regional Land Use Policy initiatives. This includes a series of Frequently Asked Questions and factsheets.

There are different requirements for State significant developments and exploration. Specific guidelines on the preparation of an Agricultural Impact Statement (AIS) for developments and exploration are available on the Resources & Energy website.

Agricultural Impact Statement guidelines for developments are available on the Department of Planning and Infrastructure website. For guidelines at the exploration stage see the Resources & Energy website.

The NSW DPI, Office of Agricultural Sustainability & Food Security provides advice to DP&I to inform their assessment of Agricultural Impact Statements prepared for exploration proposals and for State Significant Development mining and coal seam gas projects. The NSW Office of Water also provides advice.

An Agricultural Impact Statement is required for:

  • all new State significant mining and coal seam gas production proposals that may impact agricultural resources, as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment, and
  • Mining and coal seam gas exploration activities that may impact agricultural resources, as part of the Review of Environmental Factors

Agriculture NSW has developed additional guidance notes to assist applications. These are available via email

The local parish suffices, however the local government area is likely to be a more appropriate area as it is often smallest unit that published data on agricultural production and enterprises is available.

In primary production zones the MLS provides a limitation on the density of houses and allows land to be used for its main focus – such as primary production. Too many dwellings in such areas can restrict standard agricultural practises through creating conflict and complaints. By limiting settlement density in the primary production zone, opportunities for agriculture can be retained for future food and fibre production. Limiting settlement density also contributes to fewer pressures on other land related features, such as remnant vegetation, water flows and quality and rural landscapes.

Yes – Councils can determine if agricultural land use across its shire is different due to climate, topography, irrigation availability and the current and potential uses that such lands have to offer. Many Council areas have established horticultural or viticultural areas that require less land area, but have higher water, soil and climate requirements. The commercial area of land required for this development may be vastly different to area of extensive dryland agriculture.

The Department of Primary industries has guidelines on these and other types of developments that provide information on planning considerations, legislative requirements, development controls and environmental assessment and management issues. Visit Further Reading or Development Assessment webpage for information.