Yooralla is selling its Benalla farm.
Yooralla is selling its farm.
After seven years using a 16.21ha Benalla property to teach disabled people agricultural skills, the non-profit disability services group is consolidating their holdings in the area.
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Yooralla’s Russell Shewan said the sale was being made as 167 Sydney Rd, Benalla had achieved its initial goal to build a relationship with the region’s agricultural employers so Yooralla customers could gain real world experience — and eventually get jobs.
The property has been used to train Yooralla customers in a variety of skills.
“The organisation is starting to get involved in agricultural activities and give our customers exposure to it,” Mr Shewan said.
“But as we have had our customers get more into the agricultural life, they are getting out into the community. They are doing real activities.”
Fencing, lawn slashing and clearing land for fire related purposes were all part of the curriculum at the farm.
With a mix of olive and pistachio trees, as well as machinery sheds and even a pizza oven in place, the property could become a small commercial farm or a hobby farm.
The orchard space has been set up at a high point where crops can be flooded if need be.
Rather than ramp up the agricultural training, Yooralla are selling the site to help fund an overhaul of its Benalla Community Hub and reinvest funds into other programs.
“We are great at education and getting people involved, but there are people who are far better skilled in agriculture than us,” Mr Shewan said.
“It was definitely a very successful project, it is now expanded and it has been terrific.”
Elders Real Estate’s Michael Everard is handling the sale and said it was rare to see a site of its size for sale so close to Benalla’s CBD.
The infrastructure at the site has been set up to accommodate a variety of potential uses.
“It’s a hard one to put a value on,” Mr Everard said.
“You don’t see 40 acres (16.21ha) that close to town very often, and there’s a water license there as well.”
It was too early to tell if a buyer would come from the area or Melbourne, where infrastructure projects had bolstered concreting production jobs in Benalla.
The farm goes to auction at 11am, December 8.