U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad, Hebei Party chief Zhao Kezhi, second from left, and Qu Dongyu, third from left, vice-minister of agriculture, are among officials at the launch ceremony of a demonstration farm in Luanping county, North China's Hebei province on Saturday. ZOU HONG / CHINA DAILY
Expertise from Iowa will be put to use in Hebei, officials explain
Agriculture is especially important to the people of China and the United States, and agricultural cooperation contributes to stronger ties between the two countries, the U.S. ambassador to China said at a launch ceremony of a demonstration farm on Saturday.
The China-U.S. Friendship Demonstration Farm, in Luanping county, Hebei province, covers an area of about 1,330 hectares. It's modeled after a farm near Maxwell, Iowa, owned by Rick and Martha Kimberley and their son Grant.
"The farm … stands as an example of how we can exchange information and ideas, and maintain a growing and improving trade relationship," said Ambassador Terry Branstad, a former governor of the U.S. state of Iowa.
In his speech, Branstad recalled his interactions with President Xi Jinping dating to 1985, when Xi led an agricultural delegation from Hebei province to Iowa when Branstad was governor.
In 2012, invited by Branstad, Xi visited Iowa a second time. He visited the Kimberleys' farm, which he said Chinese farms should be modeled after, according to documents provided by the Luanping government.
The Kimberley farm has an area of about 1,600 hectares, similar to the demonstration farm being built in Hebei. Yet the farm only employs three people due to its use of technology and management, Rick Kimberley said.
"We have monitors that can make records of what we are planning. … The records decide the planting rates and when we harvest we know the yields all through the field. … We use GPS to make sure that we don't over plant, overuse chemicals or over-fertilize," Kimberley said, adding that every step is monitored and standardized in the farm operation.