USGC Providing Safe Milk for Chinese Consumers

US - His skin is thick like leather, etched by windburn and sun from years of working on his dairy farm just outside of Beijing, China. This farmer, like many others in China, is ready to modernize his business to ensure a safe and nutritious product for Chinese consumers.
calendar icon 3 October 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

The U.S. Grains Council is working vigorously with China’s dairy industry to provide the technical training necessary to make this happen. USGC President and CEO Ken Hobbie recently returned from China where he met with dairy farmers eager to gain the skills necessary to implement modern handling and sanitation techniques to prevent causing harm to consumers and damaging the profitability of their business.

A Chinese dairy farmer takes a rest from working on his farm. The U.S. Grains Council is helping Chinese farmers modernize China’s dairy industry. (Photo courtesy of Tyler Bastine, America’s Heartland.)

He also witnessed consumers fearful of drinking milk. “We saw Chinese consumers dumping out milk and turning to soy milk,” said Hobbie. “The recent contamination of milk in China re-emphasizes the absolute and immediate need for modernization of the dairy industry. Mark my words: The U.S. Grains Council is committed to enabling trade and improving lives by continuing to conduct educational programs to help Chinese dairy farmers produce safe milk and increase productivity.

This will substantially move their incomes upward, improving their lives and the overall Chinese economy.” Since 2006, the U.S. Grains Council has been cooperating with Huaxia Dairy Farm, a partner operation in Sanhe city, Heibei province, 37 miles east of Beijing, China. Through the Sino-U.S. Dairy Training Center on the farm’s premises, the Council and Huaxia Dairy Farm have worked together on educating dairy farm managers from throughout China in an effort to accelerate the development of the country’s commercial dairy industry. Hobbie said part of that education includes training farm technicians to bring about change in management practices.

The dairy farm has approximately 1,800 cows of which 802 are lactating, creating an average production of 8.5 gallons per cow per day. Hobbie said the long-term goal is 10,000 head. Chinese consumers drink approximately 8 gallons of milk per year per capita compared to nearly 80 gallons a year in the United States. However, with a population of more than 1.3 billion people, Hobbie foresees a significant “up-tick” in consumption pending the modernization of China’s dairy industry.

“The growth in China’s dairy industry will not only benefit dairy operators and consumers but also U.S. farmers. We are creating demand for high quality feed ingredients,” he said. “More and more of China’s corn harvest is going into the dairy industry, and with limited arable land China’s poultry and swine sectors will be more likely to buy more U.S. feed grains in the future. Our presence in China puts U.S. farmers in the driver’s seat when China decides to import.”

TheCattleSite News Desk

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