Lieb Venter (63) dedicated his life to building South Africa’s agricultural industry, serving for 39 years as an agricultural or farming consultant.
Venter is the current managing director of FarmVision, a network of professional consultants, experts and specialists in the fields of agriculture, agribusiness, food and the environment.
He regularly goes to farms and cooperatives, conducting analyses and collecting data that is used to prepare reports and write up studies and business plans. A key part of his job is to develop and maintain client contacts.
“You have to be aware of any developments in your specialisation and what’s happening in the wider agricultural sector in Mzansi. Working in this field also means that you must preferably have a post graduate qualification in agriculture”, says Venter
If this is one of the careers in agriculture that interests you, then follow the advice below to find out how you can get involved. Over the next few weeks we will feature many more careers to choose from in the agri sector on Food for Mzansi and 19 radio stations all over the country.
Ok, now it’s over to Lieb Venter, agricultural consultant and the managing director at FarmVision:
1Could you sum up your job for us? My job includes carrying out viability or due diligence studies, writing business plans for projects relating to agricultural development and establishing new operations (capital intensive turnkey projects) and the improvement of current operations. I’m involved in all phases of planning and implementing rural development projects and in improving agricultural trade and market systems for black commercial livestock and crop farmers and entrepreneurs.
I also link commercial farmers and agribusinesses with smallholder farmers by means of joint venture arrangements (e.g. sharecropping, share milking) that add value and increase incomes. I manage the United States of America International Development (USAID) funded cooperative development programme in South Africa. The aim is to improve cooperative governance and business management of cooperatives. I also implement rural finance systems for commercial black farmers and entrepreneurs and act as a mentor in emerging farmer development programmes.
2So, what does the day-to-day of your job entail? Visiting farms and cooperatives to conduct analyses and collect data, such as financial information, analysing and interpreting data and making presentations. Also preparing reports, studies and business plans and developing and maintaining a set of client contacts. I also stay aware of developments in my area of specialisation, as well as the wider agricultural sector. I attend conferences and offer advertising and marketing services.
What qualification do you need for this career? You must preferably have a post-graduate qualification, e.g. an honours, master’s or doctoral degree.
4What are the character traits you need to be great at your job? You must be prepared to work hard with long hours and be able to handle stress because of deadlines to complete work. You need to keep information confidential.
5What subjects do I need to become a farm consultant? It will depend on what you want to consult in. A degree in soil sciences, agriculture, horticulture, crop or plant science or animal science is normally the minimum academic requirement for entry into the profession, although it may be possible to enter a business consultancy role in agriculture with a business degree.
6What do you love about agriculture as a space to work in? Because of my love of business and rural development the work is very rewarding. I normally see a quick response on advice. You can’t find other people like farmers. Where would all the food come from? It is a culture you can find in no other industry.
7Don’t be modest, tell us about your proudest career moments? Assisting Mayime Coop in the Eastern Cape to become the first community to produce wine in South Africa.
8What do you do when you’re not at work? Watch sport on TV, read agricultural magazines, taking a walk on the beach.
9Any advice for young people who are inspired by your career story here on AgriSETA Learner Connect? Get yourself a good mentor to gain experience, give it your best and you will reap the fruits of your efforts.
10Where can I study to become a farm consultant? Most universities in South Africa have an agricultural faculty.
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