Cane­grow­ers’ new man­ager

Man­ager re­tires af­ter 46 years

Isis Town and Country - - Front Page - Eliza Goetze Eliza.Goetze@news-mail.com.au PHOTO: ELIZA GOETZE

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.

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