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Gov. Reynolds, Iowa Soybean Association to participate in July ag trade mission to China
by Report submitted · June 15th, 2017

Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) representatives will accompany Gov. Kim Reynolds and more than 20 agricultural leaders for an historic trade mission to China, July 19-28, to boost demand for Iowa-grown grains, meat, milk, and eggs.

The delegation, representing Iowa's soybean, corn, beef, turkey, dairy, poultry, and pork industries will be greeted in the country of nearly 1.4 billion by Terry Branstad, Iowa's former governor and new U.S. trade ambassador to China.

"It's my sixth trade mission to China because the country is a priority for Iowa and our farm families," says Reynolds. "One of every six jobs in Iowa is tied to trade, benefiting every sector of the state's economy."

"The Iowa brand is meaningful and carries to all markets across the world," she added. "Growing markets ultimately improve Iowa's economy and you do that by building relationships and meeting customers in our country to better understand their needs."

ISA CEO Kirk Leeds, who has traveled to China 20 times on behalf of the soybean industry, reaffirmed the country's importance as a trading partner and thus a frequent destination for Iowa business leaders. China has 10 percent of the world's arable land and 20 percent of the global population, he said.

"An estimated 300 to 400 million Chinese will join the middle class in the next decade, a number equal to the population of the United States," Leeds said. "This growing affluence will increase demand for protein."

China, which wasn't in the market for soybeans 15 years ago, currently accounts for 60 percent of the global soybean imports - and growing.

"We're honored to be a part of the mission and look forward to meeting Ambassador Branstad when we arrive in China," Leeds added. "It's truly a great day for agriculture to have Gov. Reynolds leading an agricultural delegation united in its mission of increasing market opportunities for Iowa farmers."

While in China, the delegation will make stops in Shanghai, Xi'an, and Beijing. They'll tour an aquaculture demonstration farm funded by Iowa soybean farmers and the soybean checkoff, attend industry briefings on China's market and demographic trends, and participate in meetings with Chinese government officials. The group will also attend an evening reception hosted by Ambassador Branstad.

Trade with China is a big deal for Iowa and U.S. soybean farmers, said ISA President Rolland Schnell. One of every four rows of soybeans grown in Iowa is destined for China.

"It's a vital market and an historic trip," he said. "Relationships matter for the Chinese. Rarely do they do business with people they don't know."

ISA leaders joining Schnell and Leeds on the delegation are District 7 Director Jeff Jorgenson of Sidney, COO Karey Claghorn, Market Development Director Grant Kimberley and Sr. Communications Manager Joe Murphy.

"Personally, I want to gauge the strength of the Chinese market for soybeans," said Kimberley. "While reading reports and listening to advisors can be helpful, you really don't have a full scope of the market until you're there, can verify the situation first-hand, and visit directly with the people who buy, process, and trade agricultural commodities."

"The delegation will further solidify with the leaders of China that we are partners in meeting mutual goals in food security, safety and sustainability."

Additional facts about China:

The U.S. soy family (through national and state checkoff dollars) has invested $1.3 million in an In-Pond Raceway System technology.

Since 2014, the China Ministry of Agriculture and private industry have invested more than 200 million dollars in pond renovation.

China produces more farm-raised seafood than the rest of the world combined. In 2015, China increased production by 4 percent with a total of just under 50 million metric tons of aquaculture products.

Total aquafeed use in China was around 36 million metric tons with the soy product use for aquafeed estimated at around 8.8 million metric tons in 2015. This equals 408 million bushels of soybeans.

China is, by far,the largest soybean importer projected at 83 million metric tons, or a little more than 3 billion bushels.

U.S. market share of China's soybean demand is 36.5 percent (nearly 1.1 billion bushels).

About one of every four rows of Iowa soybeans is exported to China.

Soybeans are crushed into soybean meal in China to feed its 730 million pigs. Chickens are the second largest consumer of meal. China is the world's No. 1 egg producer. Soybean oil is needed for cooking.

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