Agribusiness & Food

Canegrowers elect new chairman

Queensland’s sugar mills have produced more than two million tonnes of raw sugar this season, according to the Australian Sugar Milling Council (ASMC).

Representatives from Queensland’s sugar cane regions have elected Owen Menkens as the new chairman of the sugar cane farmer advocacy group, Canegrowers.

The Canegrowers Policy Council of 20 growers met in Brisbane to elect a Board for a three-year term.

Owen Menkens is a cane grower at Home Hill and prior to taking over the family farming business worked in accounting and banking. He succeeds Mackay grower Paul Schembri who retired after serving as Chairman since 2013.

Menkens said it was an honour to be elected and he looks forward to working with and for growers.

“I’m focussed on a bright future for growers in a profitable, stable and diversified industry,” he said.

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“This is an exciting and interesting time for us with new opportunities for our crop which can contribute to efforts on climate change as a renewable resource and we have an established sustainability certification system that sets us up to be a premium brand of sugar worldwide.

“I also look forward to working on some of our challenges, like rising input costs, as well as representing growers in discussions with the new Federal Government,” he said.

Menkens’ farming business is accredited in Smartcane BMP, the industry’s best management practices program. He and his wife Sarah are raising four children on their farm.

The new Canegrowers Board is Owen Menkens (Chairman, Burdekin), Mark Mammino (Senior Vice Chairman, Isis), Joseph Marano (Vice Chairman, Innisfail), Kevin Borg (Plane Creek), Stephen Calcagno (Cairns Region), Chris Bosworth (Herbert River), Michelle Fischer (Rocky Point) and Joseph Borg (Mackay).

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