In 2006 Gerrie formed the GW du Preez Consultants Trust and started to introduce buyers and sellers of dairy cattle to each other. He relocated to KZN in 2007 where he also represented Afikim, while building on his business and started to export dairy cattle. In 2009 he obtained the distributorship of Leader Products (Australia) concentrating mainly on electronic cattle ear tags.
As investor in dairy cattle himself, he added the “invest in dairy cattle” concept to his portfolio. He is continuously investigating new technology which could be of value to livestock farmers in general, while putting systems in place to minimise losses of investors’ assets.
When Gerrie du Preez closed the doors of the S.A. Holstein offices behind him for the last time as general manager on 16 March 2006, an era spanning 25 years came to an end. During this period he made his mark indelibly on the Society. His influence will be felt for some time to come.
A quick history of his employment with S.A. Holstein reads as follows:
In 1981, fresh from the Glen Agricultural College, he was appointed as classifier for the Society, a position he held until the end of 1982, when he was promoted to head of classifiers. In 1984 he became technical manager and in 1989 breed improvement manager. Two years later, in 1991, he was promoted to assistant general manager with the specific portfolios of breed improvement that included technical and animal admin services, a position he held until October 1996, when he became general manager.
During his time with S.A. Holstein he visited 24 countries to investigate systems and attend workshops, shows, societies, meetings and conventions. For many of these visits he represented not only S.A. Holstein, but also South Africa and Africa in a formal capacity. He was, for example, representative for Africa on the World Holstein-Friesian Federation (WHFF) Board and served as vice-chairperson between 2000 and 2004.
His list of achievements during his time as general manager is equally impressive. Since 1997 the rate of turnover among the staff of S.A. Holstein dropped dramatically, while the profit on turnover of the organisation improved from minus 6% to 17%. When he left, the average service years per staff member were over ten years.
During this time he served on the Advisory Board of the Dairy Animal Performance Testing Scheme, the Milk Business Information System Management Committee as well as the All Africa Dairy Expo organising committee. Since 2000 he served on the board of the Independent Registering Authorities, and as vice-chairman from last year. Also in 2000 he was made The Dairy Mail's Newsmaker of the Year and in 2001 he was a guest speaker at the prestigious British Cattle Breeders Club in the UK.
During his stint as general manager he was involved with the development of several initiatives to improve the viability of the Holstein breeder, but more broadly also the dairy industry. DIMSSA (Dairy Information and Management Systems SA) was started in 2000 and Gerrie acted as managing director until 2004. He also acted as secretary/manager of SA Dairy Genetics Consortium between 2001 and 2003. Between 2002 and 2003 he acted as secretary/manager of the World Holstein-Friesian Federation where one of his main duties was to recruit new countries as members of the organisation.
During his career he was involved with several initiatives that had a far-reaching effect on the industry. He was elected to serve on the World Holstein Harmonisation Committee in 1996, but due to his appointment as general manager of S.A Holstein at the time he had to decline. The World Harmonisation Committee, in the meanwhile, had a significant impact on the standardisation of selection norms in the various member countries. He was also instrumental in the formation of the Animal Genetic Traders' Organisation in 1996.
Earlier in his career, in 1991, he was responsible for the first exportation of Holsteins in decades to other African countries. This opened the doors for further exports.
An aspect of his career that in latter years may have been forgotten was his judging career. Completing his Senior Judges Course in 1990, he judged the 10th SA National Holstein Championship Show in 1994. He received numerous invitations to judge in other countries and was nominated to judge the NRM All Holland show. Before that, however, in 1984, he was first in the World Wide Sires/Hoards Dairyman judging competition, an international competition including five dairy breeds. He was on the S.A. Holstein judges' panel and many judges and classifiers in the industry received their training under Gerrie.
He was among others, instrumental in the development and introduction of the linear classification system and the scoring of animals on the Poor to Excellent system, after which he compiled the classification and judging manual that is still in use. Although many systems were put in place during Gerrie's period of service, he still takes great pride in having created the Genetic Capture Programme the evening before he judged at the Queenstown Show in 1991.
Also less known is the fact that he is trained in non-surgical embryo transplanting, receiving training from the well-known Dr. W Lampeter from Germany.
Gerrie is a keen writer and many of his articles were published locally and abroad. Arguably, two of his greatest articles still worth visiting are The future of breed societies and Moenie van die Holstein 'n mannekyn maak nie. During his time as Technical Manager he published a newsletter which mainly contained sire recommendations. Typically, he would do indepth studies of sires before he committed himself to any recommendations.
Gerrie often used a coin to describe a Breed Society. The one side is about cattle and the other side about people. The thickness of the coin represents the "politics." He believed that if the politics were healthy, value would be added to the coin.