The earlier agricultural engineers had to uphold themselves amongst such misconceptions and sharp misrepresentation by doing “missionary work” on a limited scale to try to convince the public, academics, politicians, and others of their right to existence.
One of the greatest obstacles on the way to justifiable recognition was the erroneous perception that a Civil engineer plus a Mechanical engineer is equal to an Agricultural engineer. Few people realised and accepted that the much-needed engineering aspects of the agricultural industry were not included in the curriculi of the other established engineering careers at all. Agriculture, with its involvement with natural resources such as soil, water, climate, environment, plants, animals, energy, labour, and finances left, on the eve of modernisation and rapid development of new methods and equipment left the farming community with an enormous vacuum, which could be filled suitably by agricultural engineers with enthusiasm and commitment.
Even when more agricultural engineers were trained at the University of Pretoria and later also trained at the Universities of Natal and Stellenbosch. the prejudice and misconceptions about their careers were still relevant – the STRUGGLE for acceptance still prevailed. There was a STRUGGLE to convince the other engineering professionals of the Agricultural engineer’s justifiable independent right of existence. There was a STRUGGLE to turn the heads of agricultural people such as livestock and agronomy specialists and veterinarians, who claimed the entire agricultural industry for themselves, that they could no longer see agricultural engineers as unnecessary and superfluous. There was a STRUGGLE to counteract the misconceptions about agricultural engineers that existed among the public, and a STRUGGLE to inform potential students on the merits of the good cause and to recruit them for an agricultural engineering career. At the same time, there was even a STRUGGLE to get Universities to create posts for the training of agricultural engineers.