The man who turned AWB around will soon head Canegrowers

CANEGROWERS has announced one of the biggest names in agriculture will head up the organisation.

Brendan Stewart will become CEO on September 30.

The Canegrowers board said the search had been long, but necessary to get someone of the right calibre to lead the industry through the period of expansion and change ahead.

Chairman Paul Schembri said Mr Stewart was the logical fit and had an impressive track record.

Originally from a family farm in Chinchilla, Mr Stewart is no stranger to the broader agricultural agenda and will be known by many in the rural sector from his time as chairman of the AWB, chairman of the Grains Council of Australia and vice president of the National Farmers Federation.

Mr Stewart sees opportunity for the iconic Australian sugarcane industry; and seeing opportunity in Australian agriculture is something he knows a lot about.

"I was born and bred on a farm, and I've spent most of my life in agri-politics. I've spent the last few years helping other businesses build strong structures for corporate and commercial advantage, but coming into the sugarcane industry is like coming back to the heartland," Mr Stewart said.

He said Canegrowers had long been known for its strong voice in agriculture.

"It is one of the most formidable ag lobby groups around. The landscape of the industry is changing and with that comes new pressures. The industry has a real opportunity to strengthen its position both as an important part of Australia's economy and as a valued export commodity."

From what he describes as one of the darkest times for Australian trade and certainly for the AWB, he became known for driving one of the most extensive and successful reforms seen.


"Growers are the lifeblood of a dynamic and evolving industry that contributes $10.5 billion to the Australian economy."

The Canegrowers board thanked acting CEO Ron Mullins for heading the organisation for the past four months, during which time the research reform process had been finalised and Canegrowers had mounted an extensive Federal Election campaign.

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