WEST DES MOINES - China, home to the world's fastest-growing middle class, holds the key to market demand of Iowa's corn, soybeans and pork.
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is now accepting applications for its members to help Iowa farmers capture that market with knowledge they gain through the IFBF's annual Market Study Tour.
The tour is exclusive to members who apply and are selected.
Applications must be submitted by Feb. 28.
For more information on the tour, or to complete an application, visit www.iowafarmbureau.com.
"By going to China," said tour organizer David Miller, "we can give Iowa farmers inside knowledge on the biggest internal issues that China faces with its agriculture systems.
"That way, our farmers will be poised to meet demands of one of the most lucrative and challenging markets in the world."
Miller, IFBF director of research and commodity services, said it is China's middle class is the No. 1 driver for demand of many Iowa ag products.
"We know that in just one generation," he said, "China's middle class will be four times the size of our own, so that is an important market to capture."
The 2014 IFBF China Market Study Tour group will meet with Chinese farmers, agribusiness leaders, government officials and citizens of Beijing, and will also explore the provinces of Hebei and Jilin/Liaoning.
They'll also tour the Great Wall and Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
Participants for the IFBF China Market Study Tour will be selected based on leadership participation in Farm Bureau and other agriculture organizations; and participants' communication skills and willingness to share the perspectives they learn.
"This is a knowledge share trip and so a willingness to give back to fellow Iowans by giving presentations to their community or visiting with local media is a must," Miller said.
The tour is designed to help participants understand the rapid changes in China's farming practices.
"We'll get a look at the technologies they are using," Miller said, "and we'll see how our production and exports can complement what they are doing."