Iowa Gov and Ag Groups to Make China Trip

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Iowa’s new governor and the state’s agricultural organizations miss Terry Branstad so much that they are already planning a trip to see him in China.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will lead an all-Iowa agriculture trade mission to China July 19-28 with representatives from the state’s corn, pork, soy, beef, egg, poultry, dairy and turkey industries. The trip marks the first time all of Iowa’s farm groups have come together for a trade mission which will be jointly funded by the participating organizations.

“There is no better time than now to market and pitch our products in China,” said Reynolds. “Our relationship with the country is strong, and their growing middle class means increasing purchasing power and Iowa stands to gain significantly as a result.”

The goal of the mission is to build relationships, understanding and trust with the hope of opening new possibilities for Iowa’s agricultural products. The groups will be meeting with government officials and industry partners. Reynolds says they will be visiting Ambassador Terry Branstad in Beijing, whose insight will be important as the groups navigate solutions to some of the current issues.

China currently accounts for 60 percent of global soybean imports – and growing. “It’s a vital market and an historic trip,” said Iowa Soybean Association CEO Kirk Leeds. “Relationships matter for the Chinese. Rarely do they do business with people they don’t know.”

China was the second-largest purchaser of U.S. ethanol last marketing year and a major buyer of U.S. distiller’s dried grains (DDGS), but because of Chinese antidumping and countervailing duties investigations, U.S. DDGS entering China now face duties of over 90 percent, and China has not approved any corn products derived from biotechnology since December 2014. “This has created market access challenges for corn exporters and restricted farmers’ access to new technologies,” said Iowa Corn CEO Craig Floss.

China is the second largest export market for U.S. pork producers but imports of U.S. beef have been banned for 13 years, so cattle producers are optimistic about the opportunities with the recent announcement to lift the ban.

Reynolds made the announcement Tuesday during her first weekly press conference as governor, joined by Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Iowa Corn CEO Craig Floss, ISA CEO Kirk Leeds, and Iowa Cattlemen’s CEO Matt Deppe. Listen to the announcement here: IA Gov China Trip Press Conference