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"Experientia docet" - Experience is the best teacher

We are coming to the end of another eventful year, ending with an award from SACNASP for our candidate mentorship program which was received on behalf of SASAS by Pranisha Soma, a councillor and member of the SASAS executive committee and a mentor in the program.

Our appreciation goes to SACNASP for funding the direct costs associated with the mentees participation in the program. Also to Jackie Tucker who responded to an 11th hour request for assistance to develop this highly successful program. Thanks also go to the team of mentors who assisted with their time and expertise.

All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture
SASAS were invited to co-host the 8th edition of the All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture in Gaborone, Botswana from 26 to 29 September 2023, by our sister society, the Botswana Society of Livestock Science & Production, in Botswana.

The conference was attended by 424 in person delegates and 41 online participants from all over Africa, with delegates from 20 African countries and 16 delegates from the USA, Germany, UK, Australia, Canada, Colombia and India. South Africans were in the majority with 181 delegates, followed by Botswana with 71 attendees. The program comprised of 10 plenary papers, 152 oral presentations and 90 posters. Feedback from members attending was very positive.

Prizes for the best breeding poster by a post-grad student, sponsored by the Livestock Improvement Schemes Trust were awarded to:
1st prize: Bhaveni Kooverjee from the UFS for: Identification of candidate genomic regions associated with wet carcass syndrome in Dorper sheep: Preliminary results
2nd: Delight Kgari Ramadimetje from SU for: Genomic prediction of breeding values and their accuracies in South African Afrikaner cattle
3rd: Madumetja Cyril Mathapo from the UL for: Prediction of body weight from linear body measurements of indigenous goats using multivariate adaptive regression splines
Unfortunately, there were only two posters that came into contention for the AFMA prize for the best nutrition poster by a post-graduate student. Consequently, it was decided not to award the prize this year.

A bid by the Nigerian Animal Science association to host the next All Africa Conference of Animal Agriculture in Abuja, Nigeria in 2025 was accepted by the All Africa Society for Animal Production.

A positive outcome from the conference was that the Botswana Society of Livestock Production expressed an interest in further collaboration with SASAS and other regional bodies of Animal Science.

SASAS Congress 2024
The next congress will be held in East London, hosted by the Eastern Cape Branch from 3 to 5 July 2024 with the theme “Animal Science and the Environmentally Stressed Production Animal”.

The SASAS AGM and awards presentations was held on 18 August 2023 at Kemin Industries – Olifantsfontein. Our gratitude goes to Kemin for so generously making their facilities available to us.

Prof Eddie Webb presented a presentation on the “The need for a South African Society for Animal Science in the modern livestock industry”, indicating that every profession needs a council and learned society to function optimally. Societies should have a code of ethics and integrity, with professional members kept accountable to those they serve and to the society. Prof Webb elaborated on the difference between a society (voluntary membership) and a professional registering body (SACNASP – legislated registration). SASAS meets all the requirements of a society and is able to support its members, with the strength of SASAS lying in:
*  A Secretariat, scientific basis and careful financial management.
*  Proven ways to disseminate knowledge and expertise (SAJAS, AAH&RD, Animal Science expertise, adverts for consultants). Branches, interest groups and national tertiary support. Prof Webb also emphasized the importance of keeping the website up to date.
*  Strong industry partners e.g. AFMA and feed industry partners, ARC, universities, breed societies and associated partners, pharmaceutical industry, production organisations (RPO, NERPO, SAPPO, SAPA, NWGA) and private consultants.
*  Professionalism based on qualifications and SASAS/ SACNASP registration (Act 27 of 2003) and a code of conduct.
*  An approved CPD system.

Prof Webb emphasized that Professionals represent their profession and should take pride in their profession. A regular question that SASAS members get is are: ‘what can SASAS do for me?’ – whereas the actual question should be ‘what can I do for SASAS?’

This AGM turned out to be one of the liveliest meetings we have had in many years. Our new council is considering the many comments, issues and suggestions raised at the meeting.

The newly elected councillors are: Trevor Dugmore and Schalk Cloete re-elected as President and Vice-President, with Cuthbert Banga (publications), Amelia du Preez (student affairs & branches) and Simon Lashmar (scientific & education) joining Jackie Tucker (public relations & marketing), Sarah Roberts (professional development committee) and Pranisha Soma (awards) on Council with Klaas-Jan Leeuw (livestock welfare coordinating committee) as a co-opted member. Prof Jannes van Ryssen has accepted the position of Honorary President, adding a wealth of institutional knowledge to council.

The Council is open to new suggestions and concerns by members. Please submit these through the secretariat or discuss with a council member.

SASAS Awards were presented to:
Bronze Medal – Dr DA van der Merwe
Silver Medal – Prof Monnye Mabelebele
Gold Medal – Prof HO de Waal
David Uys Trophy – DA Linde et al. (2022) for the paper “Rumen microbial diversity of Bonsmara cattle using amplicon sequencing during a 120-day growth trial. SAJAS, 52(2), pp.148-161”.

Animal Frontiers
SASAS was invited by WAAP to prepare a guest society issue of the Animal Frontiers journal, which was published in October 2023, with Prof Norman Casey, as the guest editor of the issue.

SAJAS has published 5 issues so far this year with the 6th issue due at the end of November. At the request of members at the AGM, the contents pages will be distributed to our members as was done previously.

We have been consistently informed that our journal publication fees are low relative to other international journals. Therefore, it was decided to increase the page charges to a more realistic figure from July 2024 to cover our ever increasing costs. The page charges have been increased to: International submissions: $ (USD) 1 000 for the first 10 pages and $ 100 per page thereafter.
SADC residents: R 10 000 for the first 10 pages and R 1 000 per page thereafter, while SASAS members (principle and/or corresponding authors must be SASAS members) are offered a discounted rate of R 8 000 for the first 10 pages and R 800 per page thereafter.

SASAS has joined the National Science and Technology Forum who are involved in the following:
1.  The NSTF provides neutral collaborative platforms where issues and sectors meet.
2.  One of the NSTF functions is to hold discussion forums, bringing the private and public sectors together to address important issues and engage with government policy.
3.  Feedback from these discussion forums is disseminated to role players and stakeholders.
4.  The NSTF represents about 130 member organisations participating as key stakeholders of the SET (Science, Education &Technology) and innovation community.

The NSTF host numerous webinars and forums on topics pertinent to science which our members can participate in. Notices of these events are forwarded to our members by the secretariat. We trust our membership of the NSTF will add benefit to our society and its members.

ISAE Workshop
The International Society for Applied Animal Ethology (ISAE) hosted a 2-day hybrid workshop on Farm Animal Behaviour and Welfare from 6 to 7 November 2023 at the University of Pretoria, with SASAS members Prof Este van Marle Köster, Prof Schalk Cloete and Dr Maud Bonato forming part of the organising committee.

Africa Agri Tech 2023 Conference & Expo
SASAS was invited to become a Partner Association of the Africa Agri Tech which took place from 14–16 March 2023 at the SunBet Arena.

Looking ahead to 2024
Membership fees
Council has decided not to increase the membership fees for 2024 in anticipation of increased membership revenue generally associated with a congress year.

We are looking at introducing webinars focussing on the latest science and technology in Animal Science. We will look into the possibility of awarding CPD points – ½ point per 4 hours of lectures attended.

Communication within the society is a recurring issue. Very few members visit the website on a regular basis and some emails vanish into spam boxes or fall foul of firewalls. Consequently, we are in the process of developing a Facebook page in an attempt to improve communication.

Save the date – visit the beautiful Eastern Cape:
The 2024 SASAS Congress will be held from 3 to 5 July 2024 at the East London Convention Centre in East London. The theme for the congress is: Animal Science and the Environmentally Stressed Production Animal.

Wishing all our members a restful and blessed festive season and a happy and prosperous new year filled with exciting new opportunities and adventures.

Trevor Dugmore
SASAS President

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