Wednesday, November 8, 2017

China's Corn, Pig Industry, and Ethanol Programs Come Straight from Iowa

2009 photo of an ethanol plant in the Midwest

Coincidentally, under the news item about China's move towards mega-sized pig farming in China featured here yesterday, I commented, "I've been wondering if this rather unexpected policy move by China has anything to do with Iowa's recent involvement in China's agricultural vision." About the same time, the DesMoines Register came out with an in depth report on this very subject.

Former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a three-decades-old family friend of China's President Xi Jinping, is now living as an ambassador in Bejing and his Iowa farming model is helping to mold agricultural policy for the massive land area of China. The DesMoines Register has this comment to make about Branstad, "Nobody saw that the most significant development of his long political career would be neither the 1980s farm crisis nor any other agricultural or domestic trend, but the rising influence of China in the Pacific."

Of course, this is not just about China's own welfare, it is also about beneficial policies to promote industrial agriculture in Iowa and the Midwestern U.S., too. For example, by establishing an ethanol mandate in China, in the future, China may need to import ethanol from the U.S. to fulfill its mandate. Or, by feeding more industrial pigs in China, China may need to import more corn from the U.S. to feed those pigs. Or, they may buy more Deere machinery. And, at the same time that China adopts these policies, they are gaining the import of U.S. agricultural technology that has taken years for industry to develop.

This is a huge global agricultural developing trends story, and the DesMoines Register's series was done by use of a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit dedicated to supporting independent international journalism. The report includes photos, videos, articles, and social media postings following the DesMoines Register's two journalists visit to China.

Here are links to the series at the DesMoines Register: