Kirk Leeds, CEO of the Iowa Soybean Association, says the Iowans, including state Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, met with Chinese officials to discuss growing agricultural trends between our nations.
“China’s been a tremendous growth country for the United States for a number of years and today, the Chinese buy 60% of all the soybeans traded in the world,” Leeds says. “It’s an important customer.” While Iowa is the nation’s top hog producer with about 23-million hogs a year, Leeds says China produces 600-million hogs a year and one of their primary feeds is soybean meal.
“The Iowa Soybean Association heads to China about twice a year to meet with customers and potential customers and to make sure that Iowa and U.S. soybeans are meeting the needs of the industry,” Leeds says. “We also go to make sure we understand the opportunities for growth.” President Trump will meet with China’s president tomorrow in Florida. Leeds says there is much attention focused on that meeting.
“There’s a lot of issues on the agenda from trade issues that are important to agriculture, certainly to North Korea and a number of other issues,” Leeds says. “There’s a lot of anticipation. Actually, there’s a lot of questions as we traveled across China about Mr. Trump, what’s he really like and does he really mean the stuff that he says.”
There is some worry, Leeds says, that the rhetoric from the presidential campaign is not reflected in trade policy. Leeds says he’ll be on another trade trip to China this summer. By then, it’s likely current Iowa Governor Terry Branstad will be the new U.S. Ambassador to China.
(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)