Bundy Canegrower's 'heroic' contribution
Tony Castro applauded at Canegrowers dinner
WHEN Tony Castro was a young man, like many others, he took flight from the family farm outside Bundaberg.
“I went out working elsewhere for about nine years after I finished school,” the cane grower said.
But the life of a cane farmer brought him back.
“Working on a farm is more than just a job,” he said.
“It can be referred to as a lifestyle.
“Having grown up on a cane farm and helping my father on weekends and after school, it was always this quiet passion within me to come back to the farm.”
He returned to his family’s Meadowvale property in 1990 and has been there ever since – but he is not one content to stay inside the farm fence.
Mr Castro has spent the past nine years fighting for the industry on the board, and later the policy council, of Canegrowers Queensland.
After finishing up his state duties this year, he was “humbled” to be recognised in front of his peers this week at a Canegrowers dinner in Brisbane.
Chairman Paul Schembri presented Mr Castro with a scythe as a symbol of appreciation for one of the organisation’s longest serving board members in recent years.
“Tony has been an outstanding representative of Canegrowers,” Mr Schembri said.
“His most impressive qualities are his capacity to see the big picture, the need for change and leadership on a large board of people.
“He was a bedrock for the organisation. People like Tony were invaluable in driving the leadership required in a lot of change and turbulence.”
This change included the deregulation of the sugar industry, restructuring of the organisation, and challenges like sugar marketing control and electricity prices.
“Throughout my working career I’ve always believed there is no point sitting on the sidelines and complaining about something without making an effort and a contribution,” Mr Castro said.
“I joined the Bundaberg Canegrowers committee way back in 1991 and it’s been a natural progression.”
Wilmar’s actions over the past three years spurred growers to take a stance on export marketing arrangements, he said.
“Whilst I finished on the policy council before we achieved a change in the legislation to give growers a choice, it was well and truly on the agenda and it was pleasing to get that through the parliament.”
The other ongoing issue high on the Canegrowers agenda is the cost of electricity.
“While we haven’t fully achieved the outcome we wanted, we have moved a long way into sourcing alternate energy sources like solar and we are still looking at other forms of energy supply.”
AT HOME: Tony Castro plans to keep busy with his farm, Canegrowers Bundaberg and TheWaves sports club.
HEROIC CONTRIBUTION: Canegrowers' Paul Schembri congratulates Mr Castro in Brisbane on Monday night.