In addition to touring famous places such as Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City and the Great Wall, we plan to visit with officials of the U.S. Grain Industry and Pioneer Seed company. Highlights for us as ag leaders will be visiting dairy, beef and hog farms and The Three Gorges Dam. Traveling to the southern part of the country, we will have the opportunity to go to rural areas to speak with farmers in the field and visit small villages before visiting port facilities and areas focusing on aquaculture.
I plan to send reports back from China, with technology cooperating. Check out comments at farmforum.net or at http://www.sdarl.blogspot.com/. I hope to send information back to Darla for next week’s printed edition of Farm Forum, too. We plan to fly back to Sioux Falls on Feb. 19.
Why go to China? Because China is such a huge trading partner, ag leaders agree that it’s necessary to learn about the country and understand how crops and livestock are grown in China, along with the needs of the people. In calendar 2010, U.S. agricultural exports to China were $17.52 billion, with whole soybeans at $10.82 billion, cotton $2.22 billion, feed grains, feed and fodders $1.02 billion, 85.7 percent of U.S. agricultural exports to China. China has a population of more than 1.3 billion people and rising incomes require more products. My stories will share my impressions of this huge country.
In preparation for the trip, our class has prepared reports about areas we will be visiting as well as the culture and economic situation. One of the books I’ve read is, “China’s Megatrends, the 8 pillars of a new society,” by John and Doris Naisbitt.
In the epilogue, this statement was made: “Facing an oppressed, indigent, and poorly educated mass of more than 1 billion people with little or low self-esteem, Deng Xiaoping pledged China’s Community Party to switch its focus from politics, to economics; from idealogies to growth strategies; and to set a different priority, to give the people what they needed most urgently: Food, education and hope.” Our visit will give us a tiny glimpse into how this is working.
Father Don Glover, a retired Maryknoll priest who lived in Taiwan for 40 years, and a native of Frederick, visited our house Friday night and assured me that Chinese society offers wonderful opportunities for learning. He brought decorations for our house to celebrate the Chinese New Year as well as providing sage advice for my trip. The adventure will no doubt be mind expanding and increase my appreciation for world agriculture.