Greetings from somewhere in China

I’m writing my blog from somewhere in China. Notice I’m saying somewhere because in 8 days I’m on 5 airplanes, a 5 hr car ride and a ferry. I’m doing a 3 hr seminar at 7 locations for the US Soybean Export Council, a division of the US Soybean Board. The intent of this series of meetings in to help Chinese producers better understand the US pork production system they are trying to implement in China. My charge – explain why we have implemented wean-finish so widely in our industry and what type of feeders and drinkers we use to make this so successful.

I was in China in 1997 and 2003 for the Soybean Export Council and the changes evident on this trip are remarkable. While it’s one thing to read about the pace of modernization in China, it’s another to actually witness it over 17 years. While smog is still a major problem in the urban areas, the streets are much cleaner and everyone carries a cell phone.
At the locations I’ve been to, youth dominate the industry. They sit in meetings aggressively taking notes and asking questions. They record answers on I-Pads and send email and text messages to everyone with their latest thoughts and findings.

Yesterday I visited a joint venture breeding stock farm whose US partner is Waldo Durocs. Their facilities use the latest US technologies (tunnel ventilation, evaporative pads, etc) and US producers would be at home in these facilities. After a trip to the US a couple of years ago, the Chinese partner began composting dead pigs and now bags this compost and sells it area farmers. This site is located in a mountainous region so they use the liquid manure to fertilize trees on the mountain sides, with land owners sharing the cost of manure application.

A big change is the government pressure to reduce pollution. They have been very interested in how US producers value manure for crop production as they try and capture value from what was once a ‘waste’ product of production and a major pollutant of rural water sources.

In southeastern China, US corn is cheaper than Chinese corn from the north of China and in conversations with industry leaders, they fully expect to maintain their current level of production with future animal ag growth being other species (poultry and dairy). All of these animal industries will eat feed grains from the US and South America versus China grown grains due to internal transportation issues.

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