Johann Kirsten was Professor and head of the Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development at the University of Pretoria for 20 years before accepting the position as Director of the BER on 1 August 2016. He was born in Cape Town and matriculated from the Hoërskool Jan van Riebeeck in 1979. He graduated with a BSc Agric degree and BSc Agric (Hons) degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Stellenbosch. He enrolled for postgraduate studies at the University of Pretoria and obtained a Master’s degree and PhD degree in Agricultural Economics. He joined the University of Pretoria in 1992 and during his career of almost 25 years as academic he excelled as a scholar and supervisor of many Masters and PhD students. His recognition as exceptional achiever at UP for the last 15 years and his rating at the National Research Foundation as an internationally acclaimed researcher (B2) are all testimony to his solid academic standing. His main research interests are agricultural policy, agricultural commodity markets, land reform and the economics of origin-based foods.