Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 23, 2014

Gallagher to travel to China

By Xiomara Levsen | Dec 06, 2013

A rural Washington resident will take part in an agricultural mission trip to China this month.
Ryan Gallagher will be part of a group of 20 people from Iowa traveling to China through the Iowa Corn Growers Association’s I-LEAD class. Everyone selected for the class usually has roles in the agricultural business, from farming to seed production to a member of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s staff, Gallagher said.
The process to be a part of the I-LEAD class began for Gallagher a year and a half ago. He put in an application, went through a few interviews, and was selected.
After he was selected he had his first meeting with his class in November. It was then they were given the choices of where they could travel to, Gallagher said.
“The choices were between China, Ukraine, South America, and South Africa,” Gallagher said. “We were separated into focus groups and were given the countries to present about at random. I was part of the Ukraine group.”
Gallagher had to do research on Ukraine as part of his focus group. Then he made a presentation, with the other members in his focus group, to the class about the Ukraine’s agricultural industry, he said.
In March, the decision was made to travel to China. He is excited and a little anxious because this will be his first trip abroad.
“I’m looking forward to seeing China and their farming industry,” he said. “It will be a very busy 10 days for us.”
The class has seven farmers, including him, who wouldn’t have been able to go if they traveled during the summer or early fall.
“We’re not going to see much of corn or soybean farms because of the weather,” Gallagher said.  
Even though the class won’t see a lot of farms, they’ll have a lot of other activities to participate in. The trip will also be taking place at the same time as a yearlong celebration of Iowa and Hebei’s 30 years of state sisterhood, according to the Iowa Corn Web site.
“In Hebei, which is the sister state of Iowa, we’ll meet with local agricultural business representatives,” Gallagher said. “In the city of Shijiazhung we’re going to be visiting livestock and feed operations.”
In Shenzhen [part of the Guangdong province], they will meet with representatives from SINO grain operations, a pork bearer, and will get to see customs and inspections done at a pork-processing center. In Guangzhou the class will attend the Chinese swine industry expo, Gallagher said.
“It will be nice to speak with people in the agricultural industry and learn more about what they’re looking from us,” Gallagher said. “Also, this will be a way for us to work with them to build a stronger relationship between China and the United States.”
Ryan’s father, Dick, has been involved with the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, and has traveled to China himself. He can’t wait to compare notes with his son when he returns from his trip.
“I’m very happy for him,” Dick said. “The quality of people we get into the program is amazing and diverse—from producers in the agricultural industry to manufacturing to being involved with the state government.”
Dick has told his son to expect a couple of things on the trip. One is, the food will be different and the other thing is for Ryan’s perception of the world to change, like his did.
“Just being over there and seeing the differences in farming between the rural and the urban areas is interesting,” Dick said. “Also, they’ll tell you there is a small village up the road, but that village could be from two to 20,000 people.”

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