Chinese Agriculture Minister visits USGC leader’s farm to see harvest, build relationships

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Farm Forum

Han Changfu, the Chinese minister of agriculture, and members of his delegation visited U.S. Grains Council (USGC) Vice Chairman Chip Councell’s farm late last week to see harvest firsthand and learn directly from Councell and his neighbors about how U.S. farmers plan, make decisions and produce their crops.

The tours included stops at Councell’s corn fields and produce stand, a ride on a combine harvesting soybeans and on-site explanations of how farmers effectively manage risk and use modern practices to increase productivity including no-till farming, nutrient management plans in the sensitive Chesapeake Bay watershed and seeds improved with biotechnology.

“We were excited to have such a rare opportunity to host Minister Han on the farm and in our region,” Councell said. “Having him and his staff here was a unique chance to not just talk about U.S. agriculture but to show it as it is happening. This type of visit makes our conversations about conservation, sustainability, biotechnology and food security come alive.”

Han and his staff also visited farms in Louisiana early in the week with USGC Chairman Alan Tiemann, a farmer in Nebraska, and USGC President and CEO Tom Sleight accompanying a group of corn and soybean farmers and industry representatives.

The Council has worked in China for more than 30 years to promote sales of U.S. coarse grains and co-products and help develop the rapidly growing Chinese agriculture industry. The size, importance and complexity of the Chinese market makes it a focus of USGC’s worldwide market development program, which touches a total of more than 50 countries.