Iowa Secretary of Agriculture recently returned from a trip to China. Bill Northey visited China with the Iowa Soybean Association and a few other agriculture organizations last week.
“We were across southern China. That is an area that has a lot of livestock production and imports a lot of feed grains and oilseeds such as soybeans for livestock and fish feed,” Northey says.
Northey also visited soybean crush plants, feed mills, a couple hog farms.
“We saw some smaller hog farms but visited one large hog farm as well. There was something there none of us had been aware of, it was hog buildings eight stories high with about 7,500 sows in what looks like an apartment building,” Northey says.
There were four buildings which totaled to 30,000 sows.
“This was up on a mountain a long way away from other livestock so very bio secure and a long way away from people. It had some challenges because it was remote but did have some real advantages.”
Northey added their government was encouraging the more efficient larger operations like food safety protocols, environmental protocols which create more of an advantage for the advanced production and genetics. “In some ways it looks like modern agriculture here but in some ways is more concentrated than what we see in the states,” Northey says.
Iowa’s relationship with China is important because they are our leading buyer of pork and soybeans.