Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thursday, February 9

After checking out of our hotel in Beijing we left the urban area, heading for the LM/Waldo Hog farms. It was a scenic route, as we passed by brick built greenhouses covered with straw mats, villages and even an army base.

The Chinese LM Hog farm and the Nebraska Waldo family are working as a joint venture and operate sixteen farms. Mr. Fu, General Manager, welcomed us at one of the most important hog farms of the nation. LM works with four different varieties of pigs:  Duroc, Yorkshire, Landrace and Chester Whites. The first –and most important- farm of the sixteen is located in a Ginkgo tree production forest, operated by a business partner of LM Farms.

This first LM farm is a 1200 head sow operation and includes a nursery and finishing room. Each week pigs are transferred to and from this location. Manure from the farm is used to fertilize the Ginkgo forest, through underground manure lines. Mr. Fu explained that Ginkgo trees are not attractive for birds.

Mr. Fu took us along to a second LM/Waldo hog operation named “Six Horses”. The breeding of pure- bred animals occurs at this location. We were invited to join Mr. Fu in his meeting room with abundant decorations and fresh fruit. He explained about the quality of the animals and the experience of working together with his U.S. partner. Breeding techniques from the Waldo’s, auto-ventilating systems and floors, disease control, genetics, management, safety and nutrition are all following the American pork industry. The U.S. Grain Association has been helpful in building the LM Farms.

At the Six Horses Farms 10,000 sows are being bred and distributed primarily in Northwest China.

According to Mr. Fu the long term goal of the farms is to focus on pure-bred hogs, following growth speed through improved genetics and nutrition. Because of the urbanization, his farms might need to relocate in future. By properly maintaining it, Mr. Fu hopes to keep his farms on the same location for a longer period of time.

It was clear that Mr. Fu took pride in working with the Waldo family and embraced us as Americans with a interest in China agriculture. According to Mr. Fu, modern China has great opportunities for U.S. investors and businesses. His motto: “If you can dream it, you can do it” was a good expression of his faith in international cooperation.

After leaving the LM Farms, we stopped at a building, with a giant decoration of a landscape with sheep grazing in a pasture on its front wall. Lunch was being served. A favorite Chinese meal, Hotpot, was being served. A burner in the center of each table contained a pot with boiling broth, in which meat and mushrooms were being cooked.

We left the Hotpot restaurant for the Beijing airport, to catch our flight to Yichang.

Yichang is a medium-size city (4.1 million inhabitants) in the center of China, located at the Yangtze River. The city is surrounded with hills and mountains.  The climate is mild in winter and hot and humid in summer. Yichang is located in the Hubei province. Farmers grow rice, wheat, canola oil, corn, cotton, lotus, green tea and oranges. The river and lakes provide a wide variety of fish and aquaculture. Yichang’s largest industry is hydropower electricity, the Three Gorges Dam, of which we will report more in another report. The chemical industry is also of great importance. The city is developing rapidly economically, which results in many construction sites.

Olga Reuvekamp

Reporter