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Farmers participate in East-West Center China exchange

Article cover photo
Susan Kreifels, the media programs manager with the East-West Center, welcomes the journalists and farmers to the Machine Shed Restaurant Tuesday. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

By Joseph L. Murphy, ISA senior communications manager

Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) District Director Pat Swanson, along with ISA members Brock Hansen and Pat Murken met with six journalists from China yesterday at the Machine Shed Restaurant. The meeting was part of the 2019 China-United States journalist exchange and an ongoing dialogue with the East-West Center.

The East-West Center promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue. The U.S. Congress established it in 1960.

The farmers and journalists visited about a wide range of topics, including: The ongoing trade war, support for the current administration, trade mitigation payments, low commodity prices and weather concerns.

Pat Murken, an ISA member from Story City, provides information about his farm to the Chinese journalists. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

"It's an important relationship," Brock Hansen said of the visit with the Chinese journalists. "Trading with China is like a marriage. There needs to be a give and take to be successful. At the end of the day, something needs to be figured out."

Zheng Bo, the deputy editor-in-chief of the Economic Daily in Beijing, told the farmers that Chinese citizens have a preference for the crops they grow.

"The Chinese people love American agriculture because of the quality and nutritional content," Bo said through an interpreter. "The Chinese people feel very sorry about the tariff war. Just like you, they hope to sit down and find a win-win so more American products will find their way over."

During the meeting, Swanson told the group about the struggles she is facing on her farm near Ottumwa and also answered questions about the family's crop insurance business.

"Farmers are extremely resilient," Swanson, a sixth-generation farmer, told the group in closing. "They will survive, but money is tighter than what they would like. We've been on the land for 170 years, so my family has seen the ups and downs of agriculture. We hope to be farming for at least six more generations."

Contact Joseph L. Murphy at  jmpurphy@iasoybeans.com.

More on East-West Center's China-United States Journalists Exchange Program: www.eastwestcenter.org/ZS4

For media inquiries, please contact Katie Johnson, ISA Public Relations Manager at kjohnson@iasoybeans.com or Aaron Putze, ISA Communications Director at aputze@iasoybeans.com

For permission to republish articles or to request high-res photos contact Aaron Putze at aputze@iasoybeans.com. Iowa Soybean Association | 1255 SW Prairie Trail Pkwy | Ankeny | IA | 50023 | US

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