OFFICIALLY he may have retired, but that doesn't mean Vince Castle is walking away from his life's work in the sugar cane industry.
President of the NSW Canegrowers Association since 2006 and President of the Clarence Cane Growers Association since 1998, Mr Castle retired from his administrative roles in June, but said he would continue to work on his farm on the Palmers Channel.
"I enjoyed every bit of it, but the time comes for other people to have an opportunity," Mr Castle said.
"I'll still take a keen interest in the industry and I'll still be growing cane."
He said he felt both honoured and privileged to have worked in the industry over a period that had seen so many changes.
Clarence Cane Growers Association Inc manager Pat Battersby praised Mr Castle for his contribution.
"He has a great understanding of the many issues that need to be tackled on a daily basis when managing what is a large and complicated industry," said Mr Battersby. "His knowledge is vast and he has always tackled the issues with an open mind. He is greatly respected at all levels and will be sadly missed."
Harwood Sugar Mill and Refinery's senior operations manager Peter Dibella said Mr Castle was a real leader in the industry.
"Vince maintained a co-operative approach to problems, and although we occasionally disagreed there were never any serious disputes," Mr Dibella said.
A fourth-generation cane farmer from Palmers Channel, Mr Castle began farming at 14 and has more than 60 years experience.
Ross Farlow, a canegrower from Maclean, has been appointed to replace Mr Castle as president of the Clarence River Cane Growers Association.
"I'm looking forward to providing continuity and following on from the good work Vince has done over the years in representing growers," Mr Farlow said.
"Vince has a lot of respect within the industry for his dedication, his integrity and his willingness to help wherever he could."