Governor to lead all-Iowa ag mission to China

Governor to lead all-Iowa ag mission to China

All of Iowa’s agriculture commodity groups will be represented when Gov. Kim Reynolds leads a mission to China in July.

Reynolds announced the mission will take place July 19-28 and will include representatives from the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau and Iowa’s corn, soy, beef, egg, poultry, dairy and turkey industries.

This will be the first time all of Iowa’s farm groups have come together for a trade mission.

“There is no better time than now to market and pitch our products in China,” said Reynolds. “Our relationship with the country is strong, and their growing middle class means increasing purchasing power and Iowa stands to gain significantly as a result.”

The goal of the mission is to build relationships, understanding and trust with the hope of opening new possibilities for Iowa’s agricultural products. The groups will be meeting with government officials and industry partners, as well as newly confirmed U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad in Beijing, whose insight will be important as the groups navigate solutions to some of the current issues.

“I want to thank the individuals who are stepping up to lead this trade mission on behalf of Iowans,” said Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg. “Every time we open new markets, it means more career opportunities for families in every corner of this state.”

For some of Iowa’s commodities, China is a developed market. For others, it’s a new opportunity to bring down barriers to products. Examples include:


  • Over the last decade, U.S. pork exports to China/Hong Kong have surged from $271 million in sales and 169,000 metric tons in 2007 to more than $1 billion in sales and 545,000 metric tons in 2016.


  • China is by far the largest soybean importer projected at 83 million metric tons, or a little more than 3 billion bushels (U.S. Soybean Export Council)
  • Total aquafeed use in China was around 36 million metric tons with the soy product use for aquafeed estimated at around 8.8 million metric tons in 2015, which equals more than 408.2 million bushels of soybeans.


  • A Chinese ban on importation of U.S. beef has been in place for 13 years. The recent announcement to lift the ban provides opportunity for cattle farmers as 13 percent of our beef production is exported.


  • China imported more than 50 percent of the exportable supply of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), or 6.3 metric tons valued at nearly $1.6 billion in 2015.


  • In 2016, China was the 4th largest market for U.S. dairy products, with imports of $384 million and even greater potential.


  • Iowa is 5th in U.S. turkey processing and 8th in turkey production. Iowa farmers and processors benefit by reopening access for turkey products into this market.

The trip will be funded by the participating agricultural organizations.