A delegation of soybean farmers is headed to China to celebrate U.S. and China’s 30-year cooperation in export-import of soybeans.

China imported 895 million bushels of whole U.S. soybeans last year–more than half of all U.S. soybeans exported. U.S. soybean farmers started laying the foundation for today’s trade relations with China in 1982. Ever since, the United States has “partnered” with China in meeting its long-term goal of sustainable food security, the United Soybean Board (USB) noted in a news release.

The delegation from the U.S. will include representatives of the USB, the American Soybean Association (ASA) and the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC). Formal commemoration and showing appreciation in structured events is expected by Asian countries, and this trip shows the soybean organizations are not passing on a chance to hopefully help maintain positive relations.

“The creation of the partnership mutually benefits both Chinese soy customers and U.S. soybean farmers,” said ASA President Steve Wellman, a soybean farmer from Syracuse, Neb. “Since ASA opened its Beijing international marketing development office in 1982, China has quickly risen to become the largest customer of U.S. soy – importing more than $11 billion today. We look forward to continuing our partnership.”

In conjunction with the formal recognition of the 30-year partnership between the U.S. soybean sector and China, the U.S. group plans to tour a soy crushing plant in northern China, visit Jianguo Poultry Company and participate in a round-table discussion with Chinese soy leaders.