ISA to join Reynolds on China trip

     Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) representatives will accompany Gov. Kim Reynolds and more than 20 agricultural leaders for a 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 their countries 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 300-400 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 global soybean imports – and growing.

     “We’re honored to be part of the mission and looking 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.”


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