Our delegation arrived in China yesterday, and we all appear to have recovered from the long flight. Today we went to work.
This morning, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and our group met with Yuan Zhengdong, deputy general manager of DQY Ecological Farm. It is the largest single layer farm in Asia, with about 2 million chickens producing 1.5 million eggs a day. DQY was founded in 2000, construction began in 2002, and the farm opened in 2004. The farm supplies fresh eggs to China’s supermarkets and processes eggs for use in restaurants.
DQY also captures methane gas produced on the farm and converts it to electricity, which is used to power the facility. The farm also has greenhouses for growing organic vegetables, and a feed mill for making chicken feed.
The farm uses corn and soybean in its feed. It gets 65 percent of its corn from local growers, but 100 percent of its soybean meal is from U.S. soybeans.
China’s expanding economy — even in the midst of a global recession, China’s economy grew an estimated 9 percent last year — has created a growing middle class that is incorporating more protein into its diet. Three hundred billion eggs are eaten in China every year. Rising demand for eggs and meat will mean opportunities for N.C. farmers. Soybean growers will find greater demand for their crop, while pork and poultry producers can find new export opportunities for their animals.
After leaving the farm, we returned to Beijing for a meeting with the agricultural staff at the U.S. Embassy. William Westman, the top U.S. ag trade official in Beijing, informed us of the things his staff is doing to open more agricultural trade possibilities in China. It was interesting to hear the many issues that Westman and the rest of the Embassy staff are working on.
Here’s an interesting fact from the briefing: Even though China leads the world in the production of many commodities, such as rice, soybeans and cotton, it still needs to import many of these same commodities from other countries to meet its own demand. North Carolina already is finding opportunities in China, and this week we are looking for more.
Tomorrow, Commissioner Troxler will be meeting with Commissioner Jiang, the head of China’s state-run tobacco company. This is a great opportunity for North Carolina, as Commissioner Troxler will focus on how our farmers can help meet China’s demand for tobacco. Other members of our delegation will be meeting with current and potential customers for North Carolina soybeans and cotton.