Historically, agricultural policy in Australia has focused on maximising the economic productivity and efficiency of the sector. The issues that have arisen from this governance focus are manyfold. In this study, we illustrate the regional disparity and implications for agricultural sustainability caused by such a policy model. We surveyed farmers in two South Australian case study regions, the adjoining peri-urban Barossa-Light region, and the rural area of Loxton. It was found that respondents from Loxton had larger properties, saw more benefits from government support for agriculture, and were more likely to prioritise support for their local community and increases in productivity. Respondents from Barossa-Light were more concerned about risks of urban encroachment, prioritised keeping their farms in their families, and were generally more concerned about government support. These results highlight the complexity involved with applying appropriate government support mechanisms across a diverse industry such as agriculture, with various regional sustainability issues driving respondent priorities. We also suggest that regional variation will require explicit planning which aims for heterogeneous goals and that educational and cooperative pursuits may help to increase the capacity of the land managers in the case study regions. These suggestions have broader implications for other regions where agricultural diversity complicates policy to support the industry within historically productivist agricultural regimes.