Canegrowers’ new manager
Manager retires after 46 years
AFTER 46 years in the industry, Wayne Stanley knows a thing or two about sugar cane.
This week he is passing the mantle of Canegrowers Isis manager to Donna Sheehy – who, with her background as a geologist, is raring to dig deep into the issues facing local growers.
“It’s a big torch he’s passing,” Ms Sheehy said, explaining she was excited to take on a role where she could make a real impact working with people on the ground.
As a geologist she began her career identifying acid sulphate soils for energy company PanCanadian, and developing policies around the soils, in the Clarence Valley, NSW – where canegrowers and local councils were her customers.
Her work later took her to Scotland and she found herself longing for home at Apple Tree Creek.
“I was home for almost a year when I saw the role come up and thought, this is a chance to work with a face, that appreciates what you do – rather than faceless shareholders,” she said.
“You can write billions of dollars onto a company, but you never see the people who benefit.
“With cane growers, they’re in our office, they’re all around us, and you see the region benefit from what you do.”
Electricity prices, marketing choice and reef health are all among the issues she says will be keeping her busy in her role advocating for farmers “so they can focus on growing cane”.
Mr Stanley is leaving behind a legacy he is proud of, including the establishment of the Central Harvesting Cooperative and dams in the Burnett River.
He joined Canegrowers in 1970 in the Burdekin and became the manager of Canegrowers Isis in 1980.
“I have loved working with growers,” he said.
“When I started out, I was calculating pay for people who cut the cane by hand.
“There has been so much change in 36 years, you never got bored.”
He believes cooperatives are the way of the future due to the rising cost of harvesting equipment.
“In 2008 the Central Harvesting Cooperative formed, and 2012 we cut 600,000 tonnes of cane through the across Wallaville, Childers and Alloway,” he said.
Friday marks the end of the six week handover period between the pair.
“It’s probably going to be strange come Monday morning,” Mr Stanley said.
“But my wife won’t let think about it – she’s taking me overseas on Wednesday.”
A tour China, Cambodia and Vietnam is in order for the new retiree.
PASSING THE TORCH: Outgoing Canegrowers Isis manager Wayne Stanley and the new manager, former geologist Donna Sheehy.