Professor Izak Groenewald was born in Harare, Zimbabwe on 3 June 1949. He started his career as a research officer in ruminant nutrition at Henderson Research Station, Department of Research and Specialist Services, Government of Zimbabwe from 1972 till 1975. In 1976 he joined Rumevite Animals Feeds in South Africa for a prolonged period of 20 years. He started heading their research farm in KZN; became responsible for all research and new product development in SADC; had a short period as production manager at the feeds plant in Germiston; took responsibility of the technical advisory services and legislative accountabilities and became managing director of one of the subsidiaries also being on the board of directors of the mother company. In 1996 Prof. Izak joined the University of the Free State and was appointed as Director of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Rural Development and Extension.
Professor Izak, is a founder member of the South African Society of Professional Animal Scientists. His membership extends to that of the South African Society of Animal Science, South African Society of Agricultural Extension and is registered as a member of the South African Council of Natural Sciences since 1984. He serves on the international editorial board of the Journal of Sustainable Agriculture. He has undertaken numerous overseas visits, made presentations at congresses and workshops and liaised extensively with tertiary institutions abroad regarding the subject matter of sustainable agriculture, that of rural development and more recently extension and advisory services.
He is appointed on a National Steering Committee tasked to draft a new policy for Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services in South Africa. Furthermore, the Global Forum for Advisory Services (GFRAS) appointed him in their Reference Group to monitor and evaluate Extension and Advisory Services globally and regionally. This is done, amongst others, with the aid of an electronic discussion forum “The New Extensionist”.
His basic area of expertise is the nutrition and management of free ranging livestock. Acquired expertise includes the monitoring and evaluation of sustainable agricultural production practises, of extension and advisory services and rural development. Prof. Izak is the author and co-author of some 85 scientific and popular scientific publications in national and international journals, research reports and presentations.
During his 20 years as director of the Centre, he established this unit as the pivotal point of training in sustainable agricultural practices in sub-Sahara Africa; as the institution most favoured to be linked with in this field and as a viable centre for the UFS by generating approximately R 21.5m annual state subsidies.