Barend J Willemse (Johan) obtained his MCom (Economics) from the University of the Free State and his PhD (Agricultural Economics) from the University of Pretoria, for which he received the Protein Research Trust award for the best PhD. A Cochrane bursary to study at the Illinois University (USA) was awarded in 2003.
He received various awards for his work, which included two awards as the agricultural writer of the year, ABSA/Sake economist of the year, the Animal Feed Manufacturers Association person of the year, agriculturalist of the year by the central region of Agricultural Writers Association and nominated as Bloemfonteiner of the year, 2009.
His experience includes: member of the National Agricultural Marketing Council, trustee of the Oilseeds and Protein Research Trust, chief economist of Agri SA and member of the SA Maize Board’s management team, entrepreneur with his wife Marlene and two daughters in various businesses, including agri-business consulting, feed manufacturing and tourism. He was a full Professor at the Department of Agricultural Economics and chair for five years at the UFS. He served on Absa Group and Absa Bank boards for more than five years as an independent non-executive director and for three years as board member of Absa Financial Services Proprietary Limited (serving on various committees). He is currently involved with UFS Business School and teaching a course on scenario planning.