Broadening Horizons: Future Iowa Ag Leaders Mission to China
- Published on Thursday, 19 December 2013 21:53
China's developments in its food and agricultural systems and the increasing purchasing power of its middle class led the Iowa Corn Leadership Enhancement and Development (I-LEAD) team to identify China as its international trade mission destination for 2013. Composed of 24 talented Iowa agricultural-professionals, the group departed on Dec. 8, with 10 days ahead of them to develop a deeper appreciation for the opportunities and complexities of this rapidly growing market.
"The I-LEAD international trade mission shows our next leaders how important trade is to Iowa and the United States," said Shannon Textor, Iowa Corn Growers Association market development director, who accompanied the team. "Building relationships with key customers, like China, is a top priority in growing trade opportunities. We need to understand the opportunities and challenges and make sure they understand that we grow and produce safe and reliable food and grain."
In coordination with the U.S. Soybean Export Council and the U.S. Meat Export Federation, the U.S. Grains Council developed an aggressive schedule covering ground from Beijing to Hebei Province, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. From seeing U.S. distiller's dried grains with solubles distributed at New Hope Feed Mill to witnessing a grain ship full of U.S. corn unloading in Guangzhou to conducting meetings with port managers to discuss plans to expand grain capacity, the mission saw the dynamism of the Chinese market and worked to enhance current trade relationships.
The class was also able to commemorate the 30 year anniversary of the sister state relationship between Hebei Province and Iowa. They met with Hebei government officials to recognize the importance of their continued cooperation and partnership for years to come. The Council encourages and supports agricultural initiatives like I-LEAD, which strengthens the understanding of the global marketplace and fosters new relationships with U.S. agricultural trading partners.