Small producers say they're frustrated by the failure of Victoria's councils to implement changes to pastured pig and chicken farming regulations, introduced to the state two and a half years ago.
In September 2018, Agriculture Victoria introduced a simplified planning permit process for pastured pig and poultry farms.
But two central Victorian producers, seeking to set up a pastured pig operation called Ethical Swine, say they've had to educate planners at their local council about the regulations.
Amy Pagett and Buck Buckingham are leasing land in a forestry plantation, at Grenville, where they intend to run pigs under a mobile, rotational grazing system.
Ms Pagett said they had submitted a request for a permit to Golden Plains Shire in late October, last year.
"It's been over six months and we are still working with Golden Plains Shire to have the final authorisation to run pigs," Ms Pagett said.
"It's been a complicated and drawn out process, to be honest."
She said Golden Plains Shire had a large agricultural sector but its town planners didn't appear to know about the regulations.
"We had to educate them as to what permit they should award us," Ms Pagett said.
"We don't know of any other small scale pig producers who have gained a permit, so it's not as if we could lean on them and ask what their recommendations are.
"No-one we know has been through the system."
The pair have applied for a Low Density Mobile Outdoor Pig Farm Planning Permit for the 152 hectares they are leasing.
She said Golden Plains Planning Team leader Sarah Fisher had since sought further clarification on how the pigs would be kept away from waterways.
It also queried other conditions the shire wanted to impose on the permit.
Ms Pagett said the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority had accepted amended plans, which included the location of waterways.
"We have then submitted these plans and letter to Golden Plains, and now they want us to include all waterways on our amended plans, not just the waterways designated by CCMA," Ms Pagett said.
"These 'waterways' are, at most, green pick on the ground.
"Is obeying the designated waterways as set out by our water catchment authority not enough?"
The pair resubmitted an application, earlier this month, pointing out the pig management areas would be set at least 30 metres back from the two designated waterways defined by the CCMA.
A livestock mortality management area would be located 110 metres from the boundary fence.
Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance president Tammi Jonas said Golden Plains wasn't the only shire, which appeared to be dragging its feet on the regulations.
"Golden Plains has acted like they have never heard of the planning reforms from 2018, that's in spite of Amy and Buck sending them the relevant legislation.'
"They have even had the animal industry panel of experts working wit the shire, trying to explain to them what the regulations are - and they are still having trouble getting through to them."
"I think a lot of road block is the turnover in planning officers.
'The Planning Officers who were educated in 2018 are no longer there and the new ones don't know about it, or are resistant to learning about it."
She said former Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes had assured AFSA about six months ago a communications officer would be appointed to work with councils, to make sure they understood the regulations.
Ms Jonas said Ms Symes, and current Minister Mary-Anne Thomas, were very sympathetic to the needs of small-scale producers
But it seemed "ridiculous" that the changes had not been implemented.
"What ridiculous lengths to have to go through, to highlight legislation passed nearly three years ago," she said.
"It's everywhere - it's a real problem that the rollout has not worked."
"It's slowing the creation of new jobs, so they are actually damaging the creation of employment in rural areas."
Current Agriculture minister Mary-Anne Thomas said the delay was disappointing.
"The regulations were amended, rolled out and welcomed by farmers across Victoria and have been implemented in other shires, without any trouble whatsoever," Ms Thomas said.
She undertook to discuss the matter with Golden Plains and offered the government's support.
A spokesman for Golden Plains Shire said the council and its planning team were across all planning regulations including the Victorian Low Density Mobile Outdoor Pig Farm Planning Permit Guidelines.
The spokesman said a permit had been issued to Ethical Swine.
"This was granted following council's planning team working closely with the applicant and in accordance with the guidelines," the spokesman said.