Wisconsin Agricultural Mission to Heilongjiang - April 2015
Thursday, April 23
China World Dairy Expo Continues
The Wisconsin Pavilion was open again on Thursday. Visitors came to the booths to learn more about the products and services available from Wisconsin. The University of Wisconsin-River Falls was available to talk to attendees about their training programs and consulting services - and the commemorative "14-Carat Ruby" ice cream developed just for the Chinese World Dairy Expo. UW-River Falls is recognized as a leader in dairy science programming, and the school partners with universities, businesses and government agencies in China and around the world.
Another booth in the Wisconsin Pavilion is Nasco. Nasco International is a Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin-based catalog company that serves education, health, agriculture and industry worldwide. Nasco products are distributed in all 50 states and more than 180 countries.
Government Official Meetings
While many members of our Wisconsin delegation headed back to the China World Dairy Expo today for the trade show and seminars, Secretary Brancel attended meetings with government officials from the CIQ & AQSIQ and Heilongjiang Animal Husbandry Bureau. The group discussed animal health protocols and the ability to sell live genetics. The Secretary invited the government officials to travel to Wisconsin.
Visit to the Far East Lumber Company
While in Heilongjiang, Secretary Brancel was promoting all of Wisconsin agriculture, not just dairy. He spent time Thursday at the Far East Lumber Company.
Forest land in Wisconsin has been expanding for more than 50 years. Currently 48 percent of Wisconsin is covered in forest. The state is home to more than 1,420 forest-products companies. Wisconsin produces more wood furniture than any other state in the United States.
The quality of Wisconsin forest products sets our state apart. With the seasonal climate and rich soil diversity, Wisconsin trees produce unique quality attributes including tight grains, and rich color variations.
Wisconsin is committed to the future of its forest products industry and has built a solid infrastructure. Highly trained and professional foresters manage and protect our state’s forests. Two major universities in the state have undergraduate and graduate forest programs to train the industry’s future managers. Wisconsin exported $207 million of wood products worldwide last year. Wisconsin exported $42 million of wood products to China in 2014. That is an increase of 11 percent over 2013.
Wednesday, April 22
Visiting the Pavilions
After opening ceremonies, Secretary Brancel joined international dignitaries (right) for a walk through the trade show pavilions. Secretary Brancel was especially proud to showcase the Wisconsin Pavilion featuring our companies.
One of the exhibitors is Ever-Green-View Farms of Waldo, Wisconsin. Ever-Green-View is one of the most elite dairy herds in the world, and for more than 30 years the farm has been exporting live cattle and genetics. Owner Tom Kestell was somewhat of a celebrity at the expo because of Ever-Green-View's 18,229 liters-per-cow milk production.
Also in the Wisconsin Pavilion is Great Lakes Alfalfa. Great Lakes Alfalfa manufactures compressed alfalfa in small bales and large sleeve bales for all animal use, as well as high-grade and standard-grade alfalfa pellets.
If you are interested in learning more about all of the Wisconsin Pavilion exhibitors, check out this informational brochure being handed out at the trade show.
China World Dairy Expo Opens
Today was the day! The China World Dairy Expo opened this morning in Harbin. Secretary Ben Brancel and the Wisconsin delegation had the opportunity to attend the opening ceremonies. Speakers included Heilongjiang Governor Lu Hao (photo right) and Robert Johansson, Acting Chief Economist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, also spoke at the opening ceremonies.
Throughout our trip, the Wisconsin delegation continued to invite people to our World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin. World Dairy Expo is really a showcase for elite dairy cattle, cutting edge research and modern technologies. More than 77,000 dairy enthusiasts attend the show each year. We told international visitors to travel to our state this year, September 29 – October 3, for our own World Dairy Expo!
Wisconsin Featured in Media Interviews and Programs
Wednesday afternoon offered great opportunities for media interviews at the Wisconsin Pavilion. Secretary Brancel answered questions about how Wisconsin and Heilongjiang could further cooperate to develop our dairy industries. The Secretary made sure to share facts about Wisconsin’s dairy industry. Wisconsin is home to more than 20 percent of the dairy farms in the United States. Last year, Wisconsin produced 12.2 billion liters of milk. Wisconsin’s farms are diverse with the average farm size having 125 dairy cows.
Jen Pino-Gallagher of the Wisconsin International Agribusiness Center made an appearance this afternoon on HNB TV in Harbin. With her were Vikki Nicholson of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, as well as Carolyn Brady and Michelle Farner of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. The Wisconsin guests served as experts on the game-show style program.
The first photo is a shot of the studio from the audience. The second photo shows the TV show guests with gifts painted by the children in the photo. The adults from left to right are Pino-Gallagher, Brady, Farner and Nicholson.
Tuesday, April 21
China US Dairy Forum
Today was a big day for the Wisconsin delegation. The group left first thing in the morning to go to the Victories Hotel for the China US Dairy Forum. This forum included a morning filled with educational presentations by Chinese and United States representatives. It was made possible thanks to the government of the Heilongjiang Province, the Foreign Affairs Office of Heilongjiang, the China Great Wall International Exhibition Co., LTD and the Chinese Dairy Magazine.
Consul General and Wisconsin native Scott Weinhold (left) welcomes participants to the U.S. China Dairy Forum.
In Secretary Brancel’s opening remarks (left), he made sure to note that this event was a wonderful opportunity for collaboration between Wisconsin and Heilongjiang governments. It allows us to share information on a variety of topics to make both of our dairy industries stronger, he said. The program was filled with quality speakers on topics such as genetics, nutrition and farm management.
The first portion of the morning included a presentation by Dr. Robert Johansson, the Acting Chief Economist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He spoke about the outlook of U.S. dairy production and consumption and noted that global dairy consumption has been increasing. Dr. Sheryl Shaw, USDA – Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, and DATCP's Dr. Paul McGraw (right), gave a presentation on the animal health standards in Wisconsin and conformity with the federal USDA.
After a short tea break, Secretary Brancel (below right) took on the role as moderator of the panels. Mark Riechers, a Wisconsin farmer, and Dr. James Gu, President of Bio-Nutrition International, spoke about efficient dairy management for dairy cows and dairy beef along with two other speakers from China. The second panel focused on how to optimize size and production on the farm. From the Wisconsin delegation, Professor Larry Baumann of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and Tom Kestell of Ever-Green-View Farm gave their perspectives on that topic while speaking with two Chinese speakers.
Heilongjiang and Wisconsin Sister Province/State Celebration Luncheon
We were all in for a treat at a special luncheon Tuesday hosted by the Heilongjiang Province and the Foreign Affairs Office of Heilongjiang. The University of Wisconsin-River Falls created a brand new flavor of ice cream that made its inaugural debut today. Called “24 karat ruby,” this ice cream is a custom blend of pure Wisconsin cream mixed with a generous portion of cranberries and a touch of ginseng.
Fun fact: Multiple gallons of this ice cream were transported to this event from Wisconsin to Harbin in our luggage!
Following the lunch, Michelle Farner gave an introduction of Wisconsin cheese. Farner is a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, also a member of the Wisconsin delegation, donated a portion of the cheese for today’s presentation. Ellsworth is known for its famous white cheddar cheese curds. Wisconsin produces more than 600 types, styles and varieties of cheese, and it was a great opportunity for today’s attendees to sample just a few.
The luncheon’s 150 heard from a Wisconsin farmer and cheesemaker, Marieke Penterman. She has won international awards for her Marieke Gouda cheese. She shared her Wisconsin experience with the audience. If you ever travel to Thorp, Wisconsin, you will see Holland's Family Cheese just off the interstate. You can watch the cows being milked and visit the retail store when you stop in.
Case IH Tour
Filled with cheese and ice cream, the Wisconsin delegation traveled to tour the Case IH plant in Harbin. Case IH has headquarters in the United States, but has a network of more than 4,900 dealers and distributers that operate in more than 160 countries. Jerome Increase Case founded Case in 1942 in Racine, Wisconsin to build threshing machines.
Wisconsin is well known for its agricultural manufacturing. One of these manufacturers that is part of Wisconsin’s delegation is VES Environmental Services. VES is a world leader in ventilation, lighting and cow comfort products. VES is based in Chippewa Falls. We are glad that our Wisconsin delegation is able to travel to Harbin this week.
A Warm Welcome
Tuesday evening ended with a welcome reception hosted by the ATO. We were honored to be joined by Phil Shull, Minister Counselor for Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service. Phil works to carry out the USDA mission to maximize trade and advance global food security.
You may be hearing more about this Wisconsin trade mission to China from the Fabulous Farm Babe, Pam Jahnke (Photo at right. Third person from the left) Pam is joining the Wisconsin delegation on this trip. Her Wisconsin Farm Report network continues to grow to stations in Wisconsin and Minnesota. We are glad that her listeners will get to listen in on the trade mission’s progress.
Monday, April 20
Traveling to China
This week Secretary Ben Brancel is leading a historic trade mission to our sister state, Heilongjiang. This is the largest ag-focused delegation ever to travel to China from Wisconsin. What makes this trip unique is that it includes the China World Dairy Expo and Summit, business-to-business contacts and meetings with government officials. We all have a lot to share, and we all have a lot to learn.
Wisconsin and Heilongjiang have been sister states since 1982. Heilongjiang is seen as the center of China’s dairy industry just as Wisconsin is seen as America’s Dairyland. Heilongjiang has a population of more than 38 million people. That is nearly seven times more than Wisconsin. Heilongjiang is the northern- and eastern-most province of China.
The goals of this mission are to help create business opportunities for Wisconsin, raise awareness of Wisconsin’s global leadership in agriculture and continue to build Wisconsin’s partnership with our sister state, Heilongjiang.
Trip Starts with a Briefing
After arriving at various times over the weekend, the Wisconsin delegation joined together for the first time for a briefing Monday morning in Harbin, Heilongjiang’s capital.
Secretary Brancel is leading a group of 34 Wisconsin-based agribusiness, farmers and media on a week-long mission. This mission will be a great opportunity to build new connections and create new opportunities for Wisconsin agriculture.
At the morning briefing, Secretary Ben Brancel had the opportunity to thank the many people who have made this trip possible, including USDA Shenyang Consul General Weinhold, a Wisconsin native. (photo at left.) There are many great opportunities for Wisconsin agriculture in the Chinese market. China is Wisconsin’s third most valuable export market for agricultural products, including hides and skins, whey, lactose, lumber, ginseng and bovine semen.
Heilongjiang Official Welcome Meeting/Lunch
The Wisconsin delegation traveled to the State Guest House for a Heilongjiang official welcome meeting and lunch. Here, Secretary Brancel talks with Deputy Governor Liu Weifeng.
Throughout the week, we’ll introduce you to members of the Wisconsin delegation. These companies represent the diversity of our agribusinesses from animal nutrition to bovine genetics. One of these is Bio Nutrition International. Bio Nutrition focuses on the manufacturing and distribution of animal feed ingredients and additives. This company is based out of Madison and does business in North America, China and South Asia. Cooperative Resources International (CRI) is also part of the delegation. CRI is known as a source of profitable, high genetic merit sires. Services include corrective mating and sire recommendations, artificial insemination, heat detection, synchronization, on-farm data analysis and complete reproductive consulting.
Visit to Nestle Dairy Farmer Training Institute
Today Secretary Ben Brancel led a visit to the Nestle Dairy Farmer Training Institute. We were welcomed by Robert Erhard, the General Manager. The Wisconsin delegation had an opportunity to learn more about their operation and take a tour. Did you know Heilongjiang Province is home to 1.9 million cows? That is even more than Wisconsin’s 1.28 million cows.
While at the visit, the Secretary brought greetings from the University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross. Nestle China has an agreement with the University of Wisconsin-Madison to design and deliver a series of academic courses for Nestle’s Dairy Farming Institute. This international partnership allows us to share ideas and strengthen our relationship. Cross emphasized that while Wisconsin is known for its outstanding products, equipment and technology, it is truly our research and expertise that is our most significant asset.