A TRADESMAN and a local government employee have made the transition into cane farming and seven years on, have never looked back.
Cousins Tony and Italo Curcio have kept their day jobs, while also producing cane across 60 hectares on their adjoining properties at Yungaburra, on the Atherton Tablelands.
While admitting they were 'greenhorns' when it came to cane, they said with the support of MSF's Tableland Mill, it was surprisingly easy to get in to.
"The Tableland Mill had these incentive schemes in place to help with the cash flow part of it, and they helped us with contractors who could do the ground preparation and planting, plus advice on things like varieties, fertilisers and weed control," Italo Curcio said.
"The mill also helped us with forward pricing, which has become a really useful tool in managing the farming business".
Their success comes while the two continue to work off farm, with Tony owning his own concreting business and Italo working in local government.
"We're small growers but... it's helped us make good use of land that wasn't doing much," Tony Curcio said.
Tableland Mill's Gary Murphy said the cousin's story was not uncommon.
"We've got quite a few growers like Tony and Italo who've successfully converted underutilised land to cane," Mr Murphy said.
"MSF is offering some really good incentives right now - a $1000 per hectare non-repayable subsidy for new cane land, plus low-interest loans to help with establishing plant crops or maintaining ratoon crops."