Pieter Conradie, ARS President. Email: Pieter.Conradie@daf.qld.gov.au
While recently hiking Spain’s well-known Camino de Santiago trail through regions that have been intensively farmed for centuries, I came to realise just how privileged we are to live and work on the rangelands of Australia with wide open plains and large areas where the native vegetation can be enjoyed.
The Australian Rangeland Society is well positioned to serve its members. and I would like to start my update by thanking Past President Dionne Walsh and outgoing council members, Don Burnside, Megan Munchenberg, Angus Whyte and Paul Erkelenz (deceased) for their dedication and commitment – or shall I just say passion – while serving their term in office. Between themselves, they volunteered about 35 years to serve on council and made a huge contribution to the Society.
Bob Shepherd, Matt Fletcher and I are now joined by new council members, John Brisbin, Kate Forrest, Warwick Badgery, Gay Crowley and Chris Obst to lead the Society through the next exciting period. Our main focus will be to ensure the Society continues to provide quality service and a platform for discussion to its members, further improve the website, promote and complete transitioning of The Rangeland Journal to open access, as well as implement the strategic plan finalised in 2023.
Discussion will continue about the role of the society regarding both current and emerging rangeland issues while providing objective and science-based information on issues such as environmental credits, carbon (soil and vegetation), natural capital and biodiversity via Special Issues of The Rangeland Journal, the Range Management Newsletter and social media channels.
The Australian Rangeland Society 22nd Biennial Conference in Broome 18 to 22 September is fast approaching. Matt Fletcher and the organising committee have put together a program not to be missed with exciting themes ranging from coming to grips with carbon, green energy, natural capital and ecosystem services to Traditional Owner aspirations and knowledge. If you have not registered, now is the time.
The International Rangeland Congress in Adelaide June 2025 is also getting closer. At this event a special occasion is being planned where the Society will celebrate its 50th anniversary. What an achievement!
Following these conferences, another highlight to look forward to is the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists (IYRP) in 2026, so as you can see there is a lot happening in the world of rangelands!
Looking forward to see you all in Broome.
Who is Pieter Conradie?
Pieter started his career in South Africa. With a background in animal science, pasture management and extension, he worked in rural development and agrarian reform during the transformation period in the Eastern Cape Province. He was fortunate to work in a region with a rich diversity in vegetation, livestock (sheep, goats, cattle, game) and with people from different cultural background.
Pieter moved to Australia in 2010 with his family to take up the position of Regional Manager Pastoral Production in Alice Springs. He is proud of his involvement with the establishment Old Man Plains as a benchmarking Research Station for cattle production and rangeland management in the Arid Zone. After seven years in the Red Centre, he moved to Darwin as a Liaison Officer in Parliament where he learnt about the intricacies of politics, before taking on the position of Director Research Farms for the Northern Territory Government.
As Manager Extensive Livestock Systems in the Queensland Government, he currently works closely with government colleagues and various other role players in the livestock industry, to support and enhance research and extension activities in Central West Queensland.
Pieter’s first involvement with the rangeland movement was through the Grassland Society of Southern Africa as part of the organising committee for a conference in Grahamstown and he later served a term as President of the Society.
This seems to be the trend because in 2014 he was asked by Margaret Friedel and Garry Bastin to chair the organising committee of the 18th Biennial Conference of the Australian Rangeland Society held in Alice Springs. The conference in the Red Centre was well attended and a great opportunity to get to know many of the leading figures in the rangeland society.
Another rangelands highlight was being asked by Past President David Phelps in 2019 to chair a bid committee for Australia to host the International Rangeland Congress in 2025. The bid was successful for the XII International Rangeland Congress to be hosted in Adelaide from 2 – 6 June 2025.
Pieter enjoys working and living on the rangelands and all the opportunities it provides including attending conferences in exciting places such as Canada and Inner Mongolia as well as exchanging ideas with like-minded people that are passionate about the rangelands.