Local delegates to China see many opportunities

Farm Forum

The South Dakota Trade Mission to China was a great success from many aspects, according to three businesses represented from Huron.

There are a multitude of trade and investment opportunities for exporters in the China market. Some areas are experiencing rapid growth, such as processed foods and wines, which is extremely beneficial for the companies that accompanied the delegation, such as Orion Food Systems. Yet, for all businesses, there are opportunities.

For agriculture companies, such as Ag Sense and Lankota, agricultural acreage currently covers 10 percent of the whole country. Integrated farm mechanization plans are being implemented on large state-owned farms, and the demand for modern farm equipment and technology is greatly increasing.

For China to feed itself is a major undertaking. China has to feed 21 percent of the world’s population with 7 percent of the world’s farmland.

For Ag Sense, LLC., there are currently 3,000 irrigation pivots in China today. However, the government has plans to purchase 30,000 more in the upcoming years.

For Lankota Group, Inc., with 2,000 strong state-owned farms, encompassing 6,548,000 tillable acres, the opportunity to introduce products that enhance the efficiencies of OEM harvesting equipment is definitely there. For Larson Cable Trailers, Inc., with the increased effort to migrate the rural families to the cities, the need for more utilities is high. China is working to get fiber to the homes, which is going to call for millions of miles of fiber to be placed.

For many of the businesses in the delegation, the prospect of doing business in China is somewhat daunting.

The language, the culture, the government regulations, the money exchange, the legalities, all can be quite overwhelming. However, all businesses on the Trade Mission agreed we can wait for what may be perceived as a safer, less risky time to act upon these opportunities; but in the meantime, our competitors will be there and will have their footprints on the ground in this new frontier.

Governor Duagaard, Commissioner Pat Costello of the Economic Development Office of South Dakota, and the resources of U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service and Agriculture Trade Offices are all very supportive of these efforts.

So, like Lewis and Clark, many of the businesses on this China Trade Mission will be planning the next steps to follow up on these initial visits.

As Rick Larson, of Larson Cable Trailers, stated on behalf of all those who joined the Trade Mission, “It was a great group of people to go with.”

Asked if she would do it again, Marvie Tschetter of Lankota Group shared with the Lankota Team, “Absolutely, there are challenges, but there is also opportunity!”

Ag Sense President Terrry Schiltz, agrees. “It was worth doing! The possibilities are there.”