Devon van Rooyen - Clear Future in Agriculture

Clear Future in Agriculture

Written by Journalist, Angela Norval - Bundaberg Today, Friday March 4, 2022

Devon van Rooyen is a young man with an extremely clear vision for his future.

Inspired by his father Craig, Devon said it was an honour to be following in his father’s footsteps and following a future in agriculture.

“To see where my father has come from, to where he is now is truly amazing,” Devon said.

“Both my parents come from generations of farming in South Africa and they left the country because of violence and they wanted my brothers and I to grow up in a safe place.

“While my mum has worked in the medical industry ever since we moved here, my father started out managing a massive avocado operation and now is running a number of his own farms.

“My father has been farming lychees, macadamias and avocados for 20 years now and in that time, he has gathered so much knowledge and for him to be passing that all on to me is incredible.

“When I finish school, I am going to farm macadamias and lychees and I will strive to be very successful.”

For Devon, his interest in agriculture came from a love of being outside in nature. Ever since he was a young boy, having grown up on a farm he had a clear interest.

“Since the day I was born I would sit out in the strawberry field and watch my father go about his work.

“I used to sit in the tractor with him for hours on end while he worked the field in his tractor and that is where it all began for me.”

As well as his regular grade 12 studies, Devon is doing a horticultural course which is a Certificate 3 in Production Horticulture through Toowoomba TAFE which will soon transfer to Bundaberg TAFE.

He will do an additional year, so that he ends up with a Diploma in Production Horticulture. For Devon, the interest in the course stems from the fact that it teaches students everything they have to know to farm an orchard crop.

While there are things that Devon admits to picking up along the way that set him apart from other growers, the TAFE course gives him all the general knowledge he needs.

“I am incredibly grateful to our director of academic welfare and careers, Mr Kane Kersnovske for helping to facilitate the bringing of a horticulture apprenticeship to St Luke’s as it means that now I am able to carry on with my schoolwork while also doing the Diploma in Production Horticulture.

“While Year 12 has been pretty full on so far this year, with trying to do school work while doing my horticultural course and still working on the farm, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

To hear Devon speak about what interests him about various aspects of farming is incredible because there are so many different aspects that he is focused on well into the future, especially as a clear supporter of sustainable agriculture.

“The thing I really like about lychees, macadamias and avocados, is that they are permaculture, which means that you aren’t turning soil over continuously.

“They sequester carbon into the soil, which means that we are taking carbon out of the atmosphere and this is very good for the environment because it reduces greenhouse gasses, by taking carbon out of the atmosphere and into the soil, where soil microbes can use the carbon to fertilise the soil.

“All of this is so important because it massively reduces leaching of nutrients into the waterways.

“This will save our Great Barrier Reef.” 

While Devon has a clear interest in crops, he is also curious to learn more about cattle. This awareness comes from the fact that his mother’s family are large cattle stud breeders in South Africa.

“I have always had a love for animals.

“When I finish school, I am going to head out west and work on a cattle station for a year or so, as a gap year.

“There is just something about chasing a huge bull through the scrub on a dirt bike at 30 km/h and then jumping off the bike and tying it up that appeals to me.

“The adrenalin you would get from it would be like nothing else.

“Until then I will continue to love where I live as Bundaberg is a wonderful place to live and it is exciting, because it is now the horticultural capital of Australia.

“This means I can do what I love, without having to travel halfway across the country to do it.”