Secretary of Agriculture Becky Skillman, the lady with more official responsibilities as lt. governor than any other lt. governor, recently was part of an Indiana delegation that visited China, coming home a couple weeks ago. Other key ag business players accompanied her on the trip. It's her fourth trip of this sort she has taken. She terms it the most successful already. All have been worth it, she notes.
"This trip didn't cost the taxpayers any money," she insists. "It was all covered with private funds from various individuals or groups."
"We've already seen immediate commercial results," she says. "Deals were made while we were made on the trip itself. Companies in agriculture in Indiana are already doing business with Chinese firms eager to increase their business pursuits in the U.S.
Deals made involve everything from timber to promises to pursuit opportunities with swine feed companies, the lt. governor reports.
This trip came on the heels of an earlier trip in mid-May that included Jay Akridge, Purdue University Dean of the College of Agriculture. Akridge says their goal was to interact more with universities training ag students. They spent time visiting he largest agricultural training schools in China.
Akrdige expects cooperation between the two schools will increase in the near future. Several Chinese students already spend time studying at Purdue. The dean hopes more Purdue students will be able to spend time in China as a result of this trip.
Previous trade missions under the Daniels Administration have brought forth various agreements in this country. Earlier in the administration, a delegation from Taiwan came here and purchased grain, after a U.S. mission trip to that country. That deal was finalized at the Cherry farm, located near Greenfield Indiana.
Bob Cherry, a state representative from Greenfield, has a stake in the farm. He also is a legislative specialist who works for Indiana Farm Bureau in their state office. The farm where the announcement was made is operated by his brother, Jin, and his sons Chris and Jeff.
Skillman expects more reports of success to come from this trip as businesses in both countries negotiate with each other. A delegation of Chinese business people are expected to visit our country to pursue relationships that might benefit both parties.