Six siblings make for an efficient workforce
BEING unemployed isn't an option for the six children of Huggins Organic Farms owners Troy and Lorena Huggins- if their kids don't have a job, they work on the farm.
Mrs Huggins said employing their children had not only created an opportunity for the tight-knit family to bond, but also made their labour force more efficient and reliable.
"If we can teach the kids how we want it done then we aren't bringing a different worker in each day and spending half our day explaining what the role is," Mrs Huggins said.
Almost every day, Mr and Mrs Huggins worked alongside their 21-year-old daughter Rebekah, 18-year-old Natalie and 16-year old son Jake.
The remaining three Huggins children Katelyn, 19, Sophie, 14, and Bryce, 11, also joined their siblings on the farm when their education timetable permitted.
Mr Huggins said training their children to be a part of the business made for a promising future.
"It's easier to employ your own family to keep it going because there are too many farms that are being lost," Mr Huggins said.
"We also find that the workers seem to work better when you're with them."
While anywhere from eight to 12 contracted employees worked alongside the Huggins family on a daily basis, the Huggins tried to keep the farm as family-centred as possible.
"We want to keep it as a family business," Mrs Huggins said.
"We've developed ways of making our packing processes quicker with the machines that we use.
"By bringing the children into it and making the machines quicker we pay our children to do the work rather than having a large work force."
Huggins Organic Farms is a second-generation farm. The property was purchased in 1986 and was a pioneering facility for the Australian Certified Organics.
Mr Huggins' father laid the ground work for the farm, developing techniques and methods for almost 20 years, before passing it down to his son in 2004.
Since taking over the farm Mrs Huggins said the pair have made the farming process more mechanical.
"We've got tractors which serve purposes," Mrs Huggins said.
"We have a spray tractor, we have a fertilising tractor we have picking tractors."
Mrs Huggins said her eldest son Jake was well versed with the machines.
"Jake is very mechanical minded. He's more out in the field," she said.
"He is 16 but he can do pretty much what troy can do and he's willing to learn."
Mrs Huggins said her kids weren't strangers to hard work.
After a full of day work Jake was known to eat dinner and return to the field for five more hours of tractor work.
Their children's work ethic was just one of the things Mr and Mrs Huggins were proud of.
"They know the harder you work the more rewards you get," Mr Huggins said.
"We've worked hard, and the kids have worked hard beside us."