UW Whitewater: Chinese Delegation to Attend Wisconsin Trade Conference
Carla Lenk, (262) 472-3217, email@example.com
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater will play host on April 17-27 to a 40-member Chinese agribusiness delegation, which is participating in training and programs to enhance agricultural trade between China and Wisconsin.
The Chinese delegation will be participating in an intensive management and agricultural training program, conducted by faculty of the college, private sector experts and staff from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). The group will also get a real look at Wisconsin agribusiness through numerous site visits.
Carla Lenk, director of the Emerging Markets Program for UW-Whitewater's College of Business and Economics, said that increasing trade with China could greatly help Wisconsin farmers. "Wisconsin farmers have had a tough time over the last several years," Lenk said. "Exporting products into a new market, such as the huge market we have to explore in China, could be the answer to some of our farm economy's problems."
Two years ago, the Chinese delegation's visit to UW-Whitewater led directly to a $2 million increase in exports from Wisconsin to China, Lenk said. She expects this year's meeting to yield $3 million in Wisconsin exports to China.
"China is an extremely important market for Wisconsin's agriculture exports," Lenk said. "The most recent export statistics ranked China second only to Canada in the export of Wisconsin agricultural products. It's a growing market which saw a 141 percent increase from 2002 to 2003."
The Chinese delegation will also be traveling to Madison to hear presentations from DATCP on animal health, milk production and care of the environment. UW-Whitewater faculty will provide information on the U.S. economy, e-commerce and technology. Several Wisconsin businesses will provide information to the delegation on animal biotechnology, banking in the U.S., export trading, dairy efficiency, artificial insemination and genetics.
UW-Whitewater received funding for the program by successfully competing for a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Emerging Markets Program and is the only Wisconsin recipient from the federal program.
"I'm proud that UW-Whitewater continues to lay the groundwork for the Chinese to see what Wisconsin's $40 billion agriculture industry has to offer," said Rep. Debi Towns, R-Janesville, Whitewater's state representative and a dairy farmer. "China has 1.3 billion mouths to feed and less available farmland than the United States. This burgeoning nation has great potential as a market for U.S. agricultural products."
The Chinese delegation will also tour the American Breeder Service Global Headquarters in DeForest, the Hoard Dairy Museum in Ft. Atkinson and the modern dairy facilities at the Crave Brothers Dairy Farm in Waterloo.
Dan Vogel, livestock marketing consultant with the Wisconsin DATCP, said the potential for growth in dairy industry exports is "greater in China than anywhere else in the world. Right now there is a very narrow base of dairy farms in China," Vogel said, "but they're trying to expand the areas where milk is produced." That's good news for the Wisconsin dairy industry, since one-half of the dairy cattle exported to China (through bull semen and embryos) originate from Wisconsin, according to Vogel.
Spurring the need for greater milk production is an increased demand for dairy products by the Chinese. "There's a trend now in China to promote dairy products to improve people's health and to offer consumers a greater choice of foods such as yogurts and cheeses," said Vogel.
Aside from the more than 40 hours of in-class training at UW-Whitewater, the group will be the guests at a Governor's Reception, get a flavor of Wisconsin life by attending the Ft. Atkinson Rotary Lumberjack Breakfast and take a sight-seeing tour of Milwaukee. In addition, time is planned for a cultural exchange between the group from China and a group of Wisconsin's Native Americans.
To learn more, contact Lenk at (262) 472-3217 or visit the project web site at: http://online-mba.cobe.uww.edu/china/