This article explores perceptions of social capital and sustainability of farming and its contribution to regional development. A review of the literature highlights challenges in the operationalization of social capital as a development tool and the limits of research that gauges community perceptions of the role of social capital in their region's development. The current study investigated stakeholder attitudes regarding regional development within a target region in North Queensland, Australia. Focus groups were conducted at regional, state and national levels. Findings suggest stakeholders perceived social capital to be important for farming sustainability and regional development, but thought it could variously help or hinder effective development. Future research should embrace social capital as a multi-dimensional construct with positive and negative implications for regional development depending on stage and context.