A Lockyer Valley vegetable farm will improve packing temperatures to supply products all year round, facilitating up to 25 regional jobs with a funding boost from the Palaszczuk Government.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said Vanstone Produce was one of the 14 businesses in Queensland to receive Rural Economic Development (RED) Grant of up to $250,000 to fund the expansion of their business.
“Vanstone Produce is a fourth generation vegetable farm that supplies directly and indirectly with all central markets in the eastern states of Australia including major retailers,” Mr Furner said.
“The company grows a salad bowl of small crops but specialises in spring onions, silver beet, broccolini, broccoli and pumpkins.
“Vanstone Produce is a leader in the field, with more than 100 years of vegetable expertise.”
Mr Furner said the grant would allow for the increase of the packing window for temperature sensitive products all year round and help to improve the working conditions of existing staff.
The project will create up to 25 new jobs in the local industry, including forklift drivers, farm hands office staff and picking and packing roles.
“We know the COVID-19 pandemic has made it tough for a lot of businesses and communities, so these additional jobs will be most welcome,” Mr Furner said.
Managing director Justin Vanstone said the project would allow for the increase of staff facilities and a larger workforce.
“The project and investment we are looking to make is a proven improvement to the packing process of the produce we grow,” Mr Vanstone said.
“The project includes a climate-controlled packing area, an undercover concreted area for storage and new staff facilities.
“The completion of the project will allow us to pack produce in a climate-controlled environment all year round giving us the ability to maintain cold chain, as well as provide our staff with a more comfortable and safe working environment.
The Rural Economic Development (RED) Grants program offers emerging projects up to $250,000 in co-contributions to build industry and grow employment opportunities across the agricultural sector in Regional Queensland.
A total of 14 businesses have received $3.34 million under the second round of funding for the RED Grants program. Overall these 14 projects are expected to create over more than 600 jobs across the agricultural sector in regional Queensland.
Funding for Round 3 of the RED Grants will be announced later this year.
The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) administer the RED Grant scheme on behalf of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.