Given the critical importance of U.S.-China collaboration in addressing global issues in food security, climate volatility, and pandemic human and animal diseases, between March 23 and April 8, the US Heartland China Association hosted a four-part virtual Agricultural Roundtable. This roundtable brought together an array of American agribusiness CEOs, bipartisan government officials, commodity group executives and Land Grant and HBCU Deans with Chinese counterparts to identify “The Way Forward from Shared Challenges to a Shared Future.”
Over the course of four dialogues, just weeks before a U.S-China cooperative agreement on climate change was reached, leaders from the agriculture industry and academia agreed that collaborations in agriculture, especially as pertaining to climate change, are crucially important and perhaps the best path forward for close collaborations between the two largest economies of our world.
Former Governor Bob Holden, Chairman of the US Heartland China Association (USHCA) said, “I am very pleased that leaders from across the Ag ecosystem, senior officials from the soy, dairy and pork industries and senior educational leaders from Tuskegee, UC-Davis, Ohio State, and Texas A&M joined us for this significant dialogue.” He also expressed his appreciation to Ambassador Lin Songtian, president of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, and Dr. Wang Lei, Director General of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences for their leadership in co-organizing this Roundtable and to all Chinese participants who joined this significant dialogue.
This inaugural agriculture roundtable was dedicated to three pioneers in agriculture whose accomplishments helped shape modern agriculture and enabled farmers to feed millions of people around the world: Norman Borlaug, Yuan Longping, and George Washington Carver.
Kicking off the series of dialogues, Ambassador (ret.) Quinn, President Emeritus of the World Food Prize, outlined his belief that, “if the U.S. and China can find a way to work together, our world will have a better chance of addressing major global challenges.”
Erik Fyrwald, CEO of the Syngenta Group, expressed his optimism. “We in agriculture, supported by efforts like these dialogues, can help agriculture be a wonderful shining example of win-win bridge building between the U.S. and China.”
This was echoed by the comments from Pin Ni, president of China General Chamber of Commerce U.S.A.–Chicago. “When business interaction starts, common sense will follow, and compromise can be reached.”
The Opening Session of this four-part event is available for viewing here.
John C. May, Chairman and CEO of Deere & Company, reminded the audience that, “The world’s most productive farmers, many of whom call the U.S. Heartland home, greatly benefit from open markets for the food they grow and the livestock they raise. Whether it’s the agricultural equipment being sold there, or the agricultural commodities being consumed there, China plays an important role in the health of the U.S. farmer and the U.S. Heartland.”
Throughout the dialogues, far from the Beltway, a much more collaborative mood can be felt as represented by the remarks of Polly Ruhland, CEO of the United Soybean Board. “Understanding and respect regarding the cultural and social differences between our countries and our people plays a fundamental role in successful trade and recognizing shared values.”