Zhang: Iowa farms can help China's aging ag industry

November 8, 2017

Wendong ZhangWendong Zhang, assistant professor, was quoted in a Des Moines Register story on Iowa's role in transforming China's ag industry, to the benefit of both nations.

"That's why an Iowa way will be one among many strategies," Zhang said, "because China still has more than the entire population of the U.S. working in prime livestock and crop production. Mass unemployment is not an option."

"China already has been buoying farmers with key economic adjustments," he added, "such as establishing new crop insurance and offering subsidies."

While Chinese farmers don’t own their land — another profound difference from Iowa’s legacy of family farms — the government now allows them to rent.

"In that way agribusiness can string together a series of tracts for harvest," Zhang said, "to achieve a scale similar to U.S. production.” 

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