HomeAgri NewsMilk SA honours dairy stalwarts

Milk SA honours dairy stalwarts

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Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

The board of Milk SA has introduced award categories to recognise outstanding contributions made by individuals towards advancing the competitiveness and image of the South African dairy industry, through their dedicated and exemplary work.

At a recent function held in Irene, Pretoria, five individuals were awarded for their exceptional service to the South African dairy industry:

• Dr Heinz Meissner: science and technology award.
• Prof Piet Jooste: science and technology award.
• Willie Prinsloo: lifetime achievement award, and distinguished leadership award.
• Melt Loubser: distinguished leadership award.
• Edu Roux: lifetime achievement award.

Read more about the macro environment’s effect on the local dairy industry.

Dr Heinz Meissner: science and technology award

Before retirement in 2007, Dr Meissner was associated with the University of Pretoria (UP) in the position of professor in animal nutrition and later as director of the Agricultural Research Council’s (ARC) Animal Nutrition and Products Institute in Irene, where he managed the interface between animal production, product development and consumer science. Holding a PhD in zoology, Dr Meissner has also been an extraordinary professor at the Onderstepoort Faculty of Veterinary Science since 2009.

Since retiring he has been a consultant to the dairy industry where he manages the R&D programme of Milk SA; he’s also a consultant to the red meat industry.


Apart from animal nutrition and management, he has vast experience in environmental issues and represented South Africa on the International Dairy Federation’s (IDF) standing committee for the environment. One of his contributions in this regard is the argument that more emphasis should be placed on carbon sequestration to limit the agricultural carbon footprint.

Under Dr Meissner’s leadership and vision, dairy R&D in South Africa has become much more harmonised and transparent, as well as more relevant to the needs of milk producers, processors and other role-players.

His hands-on integrated approach to R&D is due to his wide technical knowledge in the fields of dairy nutrition and management, rangeland management and grazing capacity, intensive feeding systems, beef cattle and sheep management, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, biodiversity, sustainability, animal diseases, animal welfare and biosecurity.

Many awards have been conferred on Dr Meissner in acknowledgement of his outstanding contributions to the livestock industry, including:

  • An award by the minister of agriculture for the research institute (ARC-ANPI) that has made “the most outstanding contribution towards food safety, food security and nutrition for the people of South Africa” (2001).
  • The gold medal of the SA Society for Animal Science for exceptional service to the livestock industry (2004).

Amongst a host of major contributions by Dr Meissner, he wrote in excess of 200 scientific publications and created the well-known Meissner tables for estimating grazing capacity (1982-1983).

Prof Piet Jooste: science and technology award

Prof Jooste started as a researcher with the Animal and Dairy Research Institute in 1963 and his career path led him to the University of the Free State (UFS) (as professor and head of food science), and later deputy director at the ARC-Irene and research professor at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).

He was an honorary research associate of the School of Molecular and Cell Biology of the University of the Witwatersrand and did regular peer reviews of researchers and research proposals in his field of expertise for the National Research Foundation.

In 1994 the Australian Dairy Research and Development Corporation (DRDC) nominated him as research fellow. He was stationed at the Gilbert Chandler Dairy Institute, an institute affiliated with the University of Melbourne, for six months. During this period, he was required to evaluate research projects funded by the Australian DRDC and to deliver lectures in various parts of Australia on invitation. He submitted a report to the Australian DRDC at the end of his tenure.

On retirement from TUT, the title of emeritus professor in the Department of Biotechnology and Food Technology was conferred on him.

Prof Jooste has been involved in the South African national committee of IDF (SANCIDF) for decades, also serving as president of this organisation from 2000 to 2006. He served on various scientific committees of the IDF.

He has been awarded the Dairy Mail News Maker of the Year accolade for 2004, in recognition of the success of the IDF/FAO Symposium on dairy hygiene and safety held in Cape Town and for his presidency of the SANCIDF.

Throughout his career he has been supervisor or co-supervisor of ten doctoral and 34 master’s degree graduates. Four of his doctoral graduates (Prof Celia Hugo [UFS], Prof Arno Hugo [UFS], Prof Elna Buys [UP] and Dr Richard Nyanzi [UP]) were successfully involved in projects of Milk SA.

He has published 91 articles in accredited scientific journals, nine chapters in books, numerous technical reports and popular scientific articles. He has also had a bacterial species (Chryseobacterium joostei) and a bacterial genus (Joostella marina) named in his honour.

He served in various structures of the organised dairy industry, such as the board of the Dairy Standard Agency (DSA) and the dairy R&D committee of Milk SA. As expert in microbiology and biochemistry, Prof Jooste has facilitated many projects of Milk SA, while providing expert support to the projects. Amongst others, he has made enormous contributions to finding solutions for protein instability in milk.

Willie Prinsloo: lifetime achievement award and distinguished leadership award

Prinsloo always has been a proponent of a harmonised South African dairy industry and intensely involved in the establishment of an orderly dairy industry after the demise of the control boards and the eventual establishment of Milk SA in December 2002.

During his term as chairperson of Milk SA, Prinsloo has played a leading role to establish harmony and trust amongst industry players and government in the activities of the company.

He has at all times shown a keen interest in all facets, projects and activities of the dairy industry and has gained a wealth of knowledge in his 61 years of involvement in the dairy industry.

His involvement in and contributions to the industry organisations was always sincere, intense and unbiased. Prinsloo did not hesitate to debate a matter and to ask questions in any forum. He would throw in all his weight to defend any matter which he believed in, and to promote the interests and values of the organisation and the cause that he represented.

As a respected stalwart of the South African dairy industry who devoted his entire working life to the industry, Prinsloo unquestionably played an indispensable role in the dynamics of the organised dairy industry and the competitiveness of the South African dairy industry.

In the 1980s, he served as member of the following institutions:
• Proprietary Dairy Industry Organisation.
• Dairy Products Organisation.
• Dairy Board.
• Milk Board (which closed in 1997).

Prinsloo served as chairperson of the following institutions from 1989 to 2008:
• Training Board for the dairy industry.
• SA Dairy Foundation.
• SA Milk Federation.
• SA Milk Organisation.
• SA Milk Processors’ Organisation (SAMPRO).

He has a special affection for career development in the dairy industry. Hence, his involvement in FoodBev SETA for 19 years – as council member and also chairperson of the council for four years, as well as chairperson of the Dairy Chamber for 18 years.

Prinsloo’s institutional knowledge since the control board era was instrumental in the transformation to Milk SA and in ensuring the success of the organisation over the past 20 years. He has served as board member since the inception of Milk SA in December 2002, of which six years was in the office of chairperson of the board.

Prinsloo also has a passion for transformation and has served on the transformation management committee since 2006.

He also served on numerous board committees, such as the advisory committees on:
• Consumer education.
• Skills development.
• Economies and markets.

Melt Loubser: distinguished leadership award

A civil engineer by profession, Melt Loubser believes in precision and in “doing the right thing”; he does not beat about the bush and seeks the truth fearlessly. Loubser has shown great statesmanship and leadership through his energetic participation in the structures of the South African dairy industry over many years.

Speaking his heart and mind at the same time, there was never doubt about his integrity and honest intentions, which always had the bigger picture of the industry and the South African community in mind.

Loubser, a co-founder of Milk SA and SAMPRO, contributed hugely to unify the dairy industry around the issues that matter for all role-players. To this day, through his positive energy, he continues to give impetus to a collective mind-set and collective actions, driven through the industry bodies Milk SA, DSA and SANCIDF.

He was always on the front-line in times of threats to Milk SA and the other organisations that he served, and every time these organisations came out stronger.

As president of SANCIDF, Loubser was instrumental to one of the most successful and memorable World Dairy Summits held in Cape Town in 2012.

He is also a strong advocate of institutional memory to serve the generations to come. It is through his encouragement that Milk SA is busy compiling a book on the history of the South African dairy industry.

Despite his huge responsibilities at Fair Cape, Loubser has devoted his time and energy towards serving the dairy industry of South Africa as well as internationally.

He was a member of the National Milk Distributors’ Association (NMDA) up to 2003 when it dissolved, and is also a member of SAMPRO which succeeded NMDA and SAMO.

He became chairperson of SAMPRO in 2009 and has held the position up until now. He also has served on the board of directors of Milk SA since its inception in December 2002 and serves as vice-chairperson on a rotational basis; he has served as president of the SANCIDF since 2010 on a rotational basis and is still serving on a number of advisory committees of the Milk SA board of directors.

Loubser was crowned The Dairy Mail News Maker of the Year in 2013.

Edu Roux: lifetime achievement award

Roux held various senior positions in the control board era since 1978 until the demise of the control boards. He re-joined the organised dairy industry in 2008 to serve in administrative and secretarial capacities and is still active as secretary of SANCIDF and the research programme of Milk SA.

Roux is known and respected for his honest pursuit of the dairy industry’s objectives, his meticulous execution of tasks and his diplomatic skill. He has always been a worthy ambassador of the South African dairy industry, locally and internationally.

The key positions that Roux held include the following, in chronological order:
• Manager: ‘Old’ Dairy Board (1978 to 1979).
• General manager: Dairy Board (1979 to 1990).
• Member of Agricultural Marketing Boards Co-ordinating Committee (1985 to 1993).
• General manager: Dairy Services Organisation (1990 to 1993).
• President: SANCIDF (1992 to 1995).
• Manager: SA Dairy Foundation (1993 to 1995).
• Member of IDF Management Committee (1995).
• Secretary of SANCIDF (2007 to present).
• Various administrative and secretarial positions in the MPO group of companies (2008 to 2021).
• Secretary: Milk SA R&D programme (2020 to present). – Press release, Milk SA

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