Grower, Childers, Queensland
GROWTH AWARDS 2015 WINNER: SUSTAINABILITY
Paul Nicol has spent most of his career serving the Queensland sugar industry. He has worked for Isis Central Sugar Mill for the past 30 years and he is currently the Chief Field Officer.
It was a controlled traffic workshop that showed Paul how critical sustainable farming practices are to the future of the industry and the environment and to ensure we have ‘something to hand onto the kids’. During the trip home from the workshop, Paul and his colleagues devised plans that could be applied as soon as they returned to the mill.
Paul and his team have worked together to make the mill self-sufficient for both water (using the moisture from the cane) and electricity (made from renewable sugarcane bagasse). In fact, through a commercial arrangement with AGL, the mill sells the excess electricity generated back to the grid. For Paul, creating a sustainable future isn’t just about individual farms, it’s about a sustainable future for the entire industry.
One of the key challenges Paul has seen in his career is keeping the flow of young farmers coming onto the land. With affordability being the biggest challenge, Paul set out to create a plan where young farmers could lease well-established farms giving them the opportunity to step into the industry without the problem of raising capital. As a result of this plan, new young farmers have started growing operations in the area.
Paul isn’t just dedicated to the local sugar industry. He is also a keen supporter of local community projects. He is a strong advocate for local education facilities and he is the Local Fire Warden for two fire districts.