Plans to keep young people in town with ag training property

Biggenden family diversify property with training program to keep young people in town


Trina and Beky Vaughan, Trafalgar, Degilbo, will offer training for certificate three in agriculture students on their property. Pictures: Lucy Kinbacher

Trina and Beky Vaughan, Trafalgar, Degilbo, will offer training for certificate three in agriculture students on their property. Pictures: Lucy Kinbacher

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Some people diversify with jams or alternative breeds, this family have turned to training opportunities.

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A NORTH Burnett family are taking a new approach to diversifying their property by offering an agricultural training base in a bid to retain and develop youth in their community.

Trina Vaughan and her daughter Beky are preparing for their first intake of certificate three students next January as part of their new training program, aKTiv Ag. 

The family manage and lease the 640 hectare (1600 acre) property, Trafalgar, at Degilbo, from Ms Vaughan’s cousin-in-law, who purchased it to graze his predominantly Brangus breeder herd. 

Just a few weeks ago, Ms Vaughan, who was travelling to Emerald for work, relocated to join Beky and her husband Kevin on the Degilbo property and finally pursued her dream of establishing a training program.  

Ms Vaughan, who has past experience in agricultural training support, will offer both residential six-month training courses or short term stays for studying students looking to complete the practical experience of their course.

They will offer participants a range of competencies including livestock handling, branding, biosecurity and first aid. 

The Vaughan’s vocational training will be offered under Peta Hill’s TCCA, but are also open to hosting school camps and programs for the disabled or elderly. 

While technology may be a dominant part of agriculture development, Ms Vaughan said it wouldn’t be the focus of their teachings.

“I think there has been a lot of emphasis put on technology and not as much emphasis put on teaching kids the basic abilities they need to go out and do the job,” she said.

“Without that basis, without understanding the core of the job, how can they go through to add technology to it and continue to do a good job?

“The focus has been on everybody becoming owners or managers and I guess not everybody is going to be able to do that, we still need good quality people who understand their role to be able to operate that well.”  

Agricultural studies are limited within the smaller schools surrounding their property, meaning often students move away to pursue such opportunities. 

But, with abattoirs and feedlots neighbouring their property and horticulture and other industries in close proximity, the area offers a broad range of skill sets. 

Ms Vaughan’s daughter and aKTiv Ag staff member, Beky, is currently studying at university and was just as passionate about their new venture and advertising the job prospects the industry could provide. 

“At the end of the day who is going to take over the industry? It’s the younger generation,” she said.

“So we need to pass on our passion or our drive of the industry and give it to those, otherwise what is our industry going to be?

“I think there is a lot of negative aspects put on agriculture with a lot of Facebook companies and that sort of stuff, hopefully we can shine a positive light on agriculture again.” 

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