posted on Thursday, September 10, 2015 in AMVC Employee Blog
SDSU China Ag Trip 2016
By: Hailey Waagmeester
My name is Hailey Waagmeester and I am a third year intern with AMVC. I will be a senior at South Dakota State University studying animal science. I recently returned from a two-week study trip abroad to China. While abroad, I visited Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Xian, and Beijing. The purpose of the trip was to compare China's agriculture industry and practices to that in the U.S.
Something that I noticed right away was their lack of open fields. Most of their land is used to house their growing population. The little fields they did have were used to grow crops. Cattle were not able to graze on fields, like we are used to seeing in the Midwest.
One of my favorite stops was the wet market. At the wet market, local families had booths where they would process their livestock and sell it for a profit. The most shocking part about the wet market was the lack of sanitation. While walking through, I saw a hog carcass lying in the back of a vehicle that was not covered and was touching everything. At a different booth, I found a whole pig head! While the way they sell their meat is different than the U.S., the way they raise their pigs is similar.
While I was visiting a local fish farm, the same business also raised pigs in wean to finish barns, which we were able to walk through. The property had 8,000 pigs with about 600 pigs in each barn. The barns were very comparable to what we have in the U.S., except the feeders and pen walls were made out of concrete. The barns did not have pits to hold the manure; instead, it ran into the fish ponds and was used as fish food. By looking at the pigs, it appears they use similar genetics to what we use here in America.
While in China, I learned a lot about agriculture and gained a better appreciation for what we have in America. I would recommend everyone to travel abroad. This experience was a trip of a life time, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.