US-style farm set to put down deep roots near Beijing
A landmark demonstration farm modeled faithfully on a Midwestern farmstead situated in the US state of Iowa, is set to start construction in September near Beijing with the aim of helping advance the technology of modern mechanized agriculture in China.
The farm — called the Sino-US Friendship Model Farm — will cost an estimated $1 billion and will cover 3,300 acres (1,336 hectares) outside the town of Hushiha in northern Hebei province, according to a senior official.
The town i n Luanping county, which is administered by the city of Chengde, is about 150 kilometers to the northeast of Beijing. A section of China’s Great Wall, Jinshanling, passes through it.
Last year, an agreement on building the model farm near Chengde was signed in Hebei, when Iowa’s former Governor Terry Branstad visited the province.
The farm will introduce crop varieties, and use farming equipment and techniques as well as management experience from Iowa, according to Ye Changqing , exec utive deputy head of the Hebei People’s A ssociation for Friendship with Foreign Countries.
It will also invite US farmers to run it, Ye said.
In addition, the farm will act as an educational base for agricultural development and become a draw for ecoagricultural tourism.
A delegation led by Chengde officials visited Iowa in April, to learn more about the farmstead and to make preparations for the creation of a similar one in China.
At the moment, the land requisition for the farm is underway.
By the end of the month, basic preparation work should be finished, including overall planning and design of the farm, said Wang Xiaodong, deputy governor of Hebei province.
He was speaking earlier in the month at Luanping, where he hosted a meeting to discuss the process.
A company, Rongsheng Group, is in charge of the planning and design work.
No specific schedule about the farm, however, has so far been disclosed.
The Midwestern state of Iowa, with which Hebei has been a sister province since 1983, is a major producer of corn and soybean in the US.