AgroNomics vision Presentations
Agricultural investment, the world’s economic situation and the prospects for U.S. agricultural income were aspects of several presentations during the AgroNomics Vision 2014 conference and 84th annual meeting of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.
Dealing with Asia and China specifically was mentioned often. Both David Kohl, professor emeritus Virginia Tech University, and Daniel Sumner, University of California, Davis, talked extensively about China and how the country has to deal with 800 million people who are trending toward urban living and away from rural areas. Today there is an approximate 50/50 split of urban and rural population. Sumner projects 65 percent will be urbanites by 2030.
Feeding the Chinese people as the population continues to increase to the year 2050 means trying to keep the population employed, and non-modernized farming keeps more people employed. But these rural people see their urban kin having a better standard of living and a less harsh life in general; therefore, the temptation is to move to cities even though the government tries to limit such movement.
Sumner quoted Dermot Hayes of Iowa State University in saying, “If China did not import soybeans, we would be growing continuous corn” in the U.S., and “if China frees its people to move to the city, it will need as much as 140 million tons of corn (more than five billion bushels).”
EXPORTING MEAT, NOT GRAIN
The outlook according to Kohl, Sumner and K.C. Conway, chief economist USA with Colliers International, is an approach of China and some other countries importing more meat rather than the grain to raise their own livestock. It is cheaper to ship the meat rather than the bulk grain, and as for China, the country is so polluted that processing in the U.S. is more sanitary and healthy.
Sumner said China’s hog industry “is already an environmental disaster,” and shipping pork rather than grain makes a whole lot of sense. It still requires nearly as much grain to raise the hogs required by the Chinese.
And as Kohl put it, “Fifty percent of the water in northern China cannot be used for industrial purposes because it is that rotten.”
click image to zoomK.C. Conway, chief economist USA, Colliers International Conway didn’t stop at pointing the finger at China. “We’re looking at doing food processing [in the U.S.] that they can’t do in Mexico or Asia because the water quality is so horrific.”
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