Spring Creek Seedlings company director Peter Burnell.
Spring Creek Seedlings company director Peter Burnell.

Business plugs into opportunity as grant plants seeds of hope

AT a time when there’s been little for the agriculture industry to cheer about, one Stanthorpe business has welcomed some positive news.

Texas Rd business, Spring Creek Seedlings, has been boosted by a government grant to the tune of a quarter of a million dollars.

The strawberry plug plant producer was one of 14 Queensland businesses to receive funding through the Rural Economic Development Grant announced on Friday.

Company director Peter Burnell has spent 15 years researching and developing the plug plant process for propagation of strawberry materials.

He welcomed the news, which could help create up to 20 new jobs.

“We’ve successfully commercialised an innovative, extremely water efficient and soil-less system,” Mr Burnell said. “From our customers’ feedback, they are now reaping the benefits of integrating our plug plants into their planting programs.”

Upon making the announcement, Queensland’s Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said it was a boost for the Granite Belt.

“These are tough times for everyone so projects like this, that create jobs, are even more important for Queensland,” Mr Furner said.

“Spring Creek Seedlings produces 2.5 million strawberry plug plants per season and is one of the larger plug plant producers in Australia.

“The funding will fast track the expansion of the production facility and scale up production to a 7.5 million plant facility.

“Importantly, this project will create 20 direct and indirect jobs in the Southern Downs.”

The RED Grants program offers emerging projects up to $250,000 in co-contributions to build industry and grow employment opportunities across the agricultural sector.