Artisan food production in central Victoria will increase with two business planning to expand their operations.
Planned expansions at McIvor Farms Foods in Tooborac and The Heathcote Artisan will encourage job growth and tourism in the area.
Each business will focus on its future plans thanks to grants from the state government's Small-Scale and Craft Program.
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- McIvor Farm Foods owner Belinda Hagan said the business - a free-range pig farm - will equip its new smoking and cooking facility in the new year, allowing the business to keep production local and alongside its on-farm butchering facility.
"We built our own on-farm butchering facility and part of it allows us to expand on our operations and do things in a rapid time frame," she said.
Ms Hagan said the new facilities will also expand the farm's product range.
"We will be expanding our (product) range and creating less waste, less packaging and less food miles," she said.
"To have our smoked range we utilise a smokehouse in Melbourne. So we have to take raw product down and bring the smoked product back."
The Heathcote Artisan, which produces vinegar and other condiments, will be able to increase its production and develop a cellar door to showcase other local producers.
It opened in 2009 and is a family-run business between Andrew Papas and his sons George and Theo.
"The grant was for a three-stage project. One to open a cellar door by the summer season, so the shed is presentable to show products in," Mr Papas said.
"Stage two is to buy bottling machinery for the production line and stage three increases storage on the property to store raw ingredients and finished products.
"The (grant) was very welcome. We stopped going to farmers markets when the second wave of COVID hit and our cash flow stopped.
"It is an encouraging act from the Victorian government to promote regional Victoria and help finish our project."
Agriculture minister Jaclyn Symes visited both businesses on Tuesday to announce the funding.
"Central Victoria thrives thanks to the many small-scale and craft producers in the region," she said.
"It makes sense to help them grow and reach even more customers with their fantastic produce.
"Regional Victoria will be crucial in leading our states economic recovery. Our fantastic small scale and craft sector will be at the forefront of our revised tourism and hospitality sectors."
Ms Hagan said she was grateful the state government was recognising small food producers.
"We have been doing this for 10 years and I can say sometimes it felt like we were a square peg in round hole," she said.
"We never fit with mainstream funding or focuses, so we are grateful and excited that this area we work in as been given some focus and funding. We are very passionate about what we do."