Chinese tour group studies sorghum potential

Did you know there is a difference between the sorghum in China and the sorghum in Kansas?

The U.S. Grains Council knew it, and brought a team of four Chinese agribusinessmen to Kansas to study local sorghum, how we use it and how we might open sorghum trade with China.

Team members were: Chen Jian-xiong, general manager of the Guangdong Zhongshan Baishi Pig breeding farm, Li Ying-jun, deputy general manager of the Guangdong Nanhai Zhonghong Feedmill China national Feedstuff Group Corp. (a national/private feedmill), Li Xue-jun, technical manager of the guangdong Dongguan Foodstuff Import & Export Company Daling Shan Pig Farm, and Jason Z.C. Yan, technical program manager of the U.S. Grains Council, Beijing office.

USGC selected this group of men who represent some of the largest swine and poultry producers and feed grain end users in southern China.

The group will be in the States for one week. Monday, Aug. 28, the team spent a full 12 hours touring pig and poultry facilities in the Wichita area, and riding in a combine.

After spending the night in McPherson they spent a good part of Tuesday in Hillsboro touring the Countryside Feeds, LLC, with Serena Pankratz as the guide, and seeing Dennis Funk’s hog operation.

They went on to K-State for several days to talk with professors regarding swine and poultry nutrition and to sit in on several agribusiness classes. They will end the tour in Kansas City, where they will become acquainted with the Kansas Board of Trade and meet with marketers.

Luke Lindsay, general manager of Countryside Feed, said his operation was chosen because it was one of the newest feedmills in Kansas, having been in operation less than a year.

He added this was not the first time people of foreign lands had been scheduled for a similar Hillsboro tour.

“Not too long ago a group of Egyptians were coming,” he said. “However, there were flight problems of some sort and it was canceled.”

Jason Z.C. Yan, acted as the team interpreter, and Kevin Lickteig the tour guide, until they arrived in Kansas City. Then they were picked up in a limousine and on their way to visit various marketers. They will return to China on Saturday.

With cameras and video recorders in hand, creased eyebrows, and questions on the tip of their tongues, the men were interested in learning everything they could possible learn.

It wasn’t unusual to see one of them peeking around a corner, touching an item, taking notes, and filming things.

This was the first time three of the men had been to the United States.

Lickteig said they were most impressed by the mechanisms of American life.

“They are amazed how few individuals it takes to run some of our facilities,” he said.

When it came to dining out they seemed to prefer American Chinese food over American food. While eating at one restaurant he said, “they didn’t care for the buffet and after a few words with the waiter a tofu dish arrived with sauce. I tasted it, ” he paused and grinned, ” they like a LOT of spice!”

Lickteig reported the men thoroughly enjoyed the combine ride, and were interested to see the oil wells on farmland, as there is quite a bit of oil in China.

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