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March 30, 2009

Future expansion of agriculture in the Sale-Maffra district was the subject of a visit by the Shadow Minister for Agriculture John Cobb this week.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester took the Shadow Minister to one of the region’s biggest horticulture businesses to discuss their plans for future expansion.

Covino’s Farm Produce currently employs more than 120 full-time staff and is due to soon open a new cool room which will lead to another 20 jobs at Longford.

Mr Chester said Covino’s was the largest salad producer in Victoria.

“Covino’s supplies major supermarket chains including Aldi and Woolworth’s and fast food chains such as Red Rooster and Subway,” Mr Chester said.

“While their major product has traditionally been carrots, Covino’s is now a major producer of pre-packaged lettuce products.

“Lettuce and salad mixes are pre-packaged at the Longford plant and then distributed as far as Brisbane and Adelaide.”

Mr Chester said the Covino family had plans for further growth into the future.

“The family’s success is testimony to their hard work and determination,” Mr Chester said.

“We must do more as a Government to support families like the Covino’s which take risks; invest in their local community; and make the effort to value-add their product right here in Gippsland, creating new job opportunities.”

Mr Chester also took the Shadow Minister to ITC Timber in Heyfield and the Macalister Research Farm  and then met with irrigators from the Macalister Irrigation District to discuss water security.

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