The U.S. Grains Council's strategic outreach to China continues to pay dividends. Last week, the Council had the privilege of hosting a delegation of high-level think tank officials from China on a corn-focused tour across the United States. The trip served as an opportunity for those working on Chinese agricultural development and policy to view U.S. corn and value-added produced systems first hand. The team also was able to assess the impact of the current drought and deepen its appreciation of the productive potential of biotechnology.
While in Iowa, delegation members visited seed and value added technology centers and had one-on-one discussions with U.S. producers relative to the current drought and crop situation. The team was also able to preview cutting edge technologies such as satellite hyper-spectral imaging, an advanced way to collect and analyze data to improve future agronomic practices and production capabilities. In Washington, D.C., the delegation rounded out its visit with discussions on the future of global agriculture commodity markets with top officials at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
"This was the second year of our 'Corn Study' mission and my first since joining the Council as country director. I understand last year's mission was comprised of representatives from both government and trade. This year we sought to broaden that stakeholder group to include think-tank representatives," said Bryan Lohmar, USGC Country Director in China, "By allowing thought leaders to study the integrated nature of the U.S. agricultural system, we tried to build confidence for the use of trade as a tool to help lower food prices and achieve greater food security."
Based on new food demands resulting from China's 30-year economic miracle, the Council, USDA and others believe that China will continue to import substantial amounts of coarse grains from global markets in the coming years. Corn Study missions such as these are part of the Council's effort to advance the dialogue in China on issues pertaining to food security, production, trade and transparency in a manner sensitive to the two nations' economic, political and social differences.