On the photograph: The SASAS Northern Branch committee is proud to have hosted two successful Student Industry Days for 2019. Pictured here (from left) are chair Robyn Joubert, vice chair Casey van der Bergh, Nomsa Lubisi, and Karla Hendriks, with JW van Niekerk standing (committee members Jackie Tucker and Dr Linde du Toit were absent when the photograph was taken).
The South African Society for Animal Science (SASAS Northern Branch), together with speakers, sponsors, and students, came together again on 17 September at the Alfa Expo in Parys for the second Student Industry Day of 2019.
The aim of this event is to bring final-year and post-graduate students in animal science from the northern region into contact with industry. Approximately 200 students from the University of Pretoria, the University of Bloemfontein, and North-West University attended the day, which was themed: “The top three.”
Dr Linky Makgahlela explained the role and objectives of SASAS and SACNASP and encouraged students to get involved by registering as student members.
Andrew Reeders and Hezekiel Mpedi from Topigs Norsvin explained the process of swine selection and breeding, as well as the day-to-day activities that occur on a commercial swine farm. Johan Mouton from RCL Foods told the students more about their mission of getting more feed, to more people, more often. He reminded students that while qualifications might get your foot in the door, it would be the softer skills that would determine staying power in the industry.
After the break, Steven Payne from Urban Farmer described his journey from studying to corporate employment, and from starting his own one-man business to now employing almost 20 people. He reminded students that agriculture is a people-driven industry.
“People want to deal with people who care,” he said. Marguerite Schwarzer from PIC explained their company using the analogy of the three little pigs, demonstrating the value of building on a strong foundation. Finally, Joanelle Smit from Sanlam shared a few hard truths with the audience, including the fact that research shows only 6 out of 100 people can retire comfortably independent of others. Luckily, she also had a few top tips to help students think differently about financial management and budgeting.
The student quiz was again great fun, with students jumping up in their seats to show off their knowledge. The first round of 10 winners each received incentive prizes sponsored by Chemuniqué. After a few rounds of increasingly difficult questions, the final three students, Gareth Wilks, Louisa Lennon, and Ofhani Mavhungu, were awarded prizes by Sanlam, with Louisa Lennon from the University of Pretoria receiving the grand prize from Sanlam and the title as Student of the Day 2019.
Casey van der Bergh, vice chair of the SASAS Northern Branch, thanked everyone for participating and closed off the formal proceedings. “I believe that the theme for today, the top three, is particularly apt as you all represent the winning trifecta: the students, the future of the industry; the industry itself, here to invest in the future; and industry bodies such as SASAS and SACNASP, who play a regulating role in the industry.”
The SASAS Northern Branch is committed to promoting animal science, but to be successful in hosting this event we need the participation and involvement of industry sponsors. We would like to thank each and every one of the sponsors that participated in the two 2019 Student Industry Days, and we look forward to repeating this successful event again next year!