It's taken six months longer than expected, but the council's new Rural Lands Strategy has been adopted, with a reduction in the minimum size of farming properties around Cootamundra from 200 to 40 hectares.
The draft strategy was knocked back by council in December last year, because it did not mention the reduction, despite it having been discussed at a workshop.
Councillor Charlie Sheahan said then that he was "pretty concerned" at the omission, because the 40ha size, which applies around Gundagai, would protect the diversity of agriculture around Cootamundra.
"It would open the marketplace up for people to buy a sizeable block, but small enough to protect it from corporate takeover," he said.
Council manager Sharon Langman said there had been some concerns by state government agencies.
Since then, the document has been through meetings with those agencies, been modified and put out on public display again before coming up for approval at the council meeting on June 30.
The 48-page document, approved unanimously, takes into account emerging rural trends such as tree-changers, hobby farms, solar farms, regenerative agriculture, agrotourism, crop diversity, revegetation along river corridors, the importance of tree canopies, use of native plants and short-term trials.
In their introduction, mayor Abb McAlister and general manager Phil McMurray said the strategy created an "agricultural vision" connecting the use of our rural lands to the prosperity of our towns and villages.
The strategy, which can be viewed on the council's website, maps out five "directions": protect and enhance agricultural land; grow agrotourism; encourage diversity of rural industries; promote and encourage value-add industries to take advantage of transport links and local resources; and increase resource efficiency.
On the minimum lot size, it said small boutique, intensive and niche farming enterprises were to be encouraged and supported.
To allow land owners to expand and contract holdings when required, realignments below the minimum lot sizes for agricultural purposes should continue.
There should be a subsection of the development control plan to deal specifically with agritourism and artisan food businesses, as well as a series of fact sheets and packs with all council forms and other agency contracts to help businesses get started.
Trials of small scale agriculture should be allowed without formal development consent and medical crop cultivation should be encouraged as well as exploration of native flora and fauna as a source of food, wood and fibre.
The council should work with ARTC and others to service a potential industrial site at Stockinbingal to take advantage of the inland rail.
Signage on rural roads should be improved, while regenerative farming should be encouraged through community education online and newsletters as well as minimisation of red tape.
There should be a realistic target set for an increased tree canopy, with a plan to be implemented over the next 30 years.
Urban sprawl should be contained by establishing containment lines including large lots and acreages.