Seventeen graduates of the LSU AgCenter Agricultural Leadership Development Program
participated in an 11-day agricultural study tour of China. The international trip, which began Jan. 13, serves as the final seminar for the two-year program.
The group first visited Beijing where they were briefed on agricultural and trade issues by Embassy, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Commerce officials. The Ag Leaders also met with representatives of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture. Other stops in Beijing included a textile company, a forestry nursery, an agricultural university and a wholesale produce and vegetable market. Everyone also took in some of the great tourist sites like The Great Wall, The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.
A trip farther south to Wuxi gave the group an opportunity to visit the Fresh Water Fisheries Institute and a farmers’ market. A one hour bus ride from Wuxi brought the Ag Leaders to Suzhou, a garden city. The group toured the famed Humble Administrator’s Garden and looked at a greenhouse vegetable and flower operation. One of the greenhouses was filled with orchids as they prepared for the Chinese New Year.
The final stop of the trip was in Shanghai. Besides visiting an industrial park for agricultural production, the group toured this impressive city of 17 million people.
According to Mike Futrell, director of the Ag Leadership Program, everyone was impressed with the modern Shanghai. “Everything I have read,” said Futrell, “suggests that China is on the brink of becoming an economic powerhouse. From what I see here, that may well be an understatement.”
Travel for the program is underwritten by private funds in the LSU Foundation, specifically the Chalkley Family Endowed Chair, the H. Rouse Caffey Endowment and the Ag Leaders of Louisiana Endowment.
A trip out of the country has been part of the Agricultural Leadership Development Program since its beginnings in 1988. The Ag Leaders on the trip included John Earl Carroll, Jason Condrey, Andre Danos, Willie Danos, Adam Faulk, Karl Glaser, Arte Goode, Bo Holt, Mark Marionneaux, Justin Nix, Tee Richard, Kent Roblin, Hank Schumacher, Deborah Slaughter, Marty Wooldridge, Henry Harrison and his wife, Patricia, and Mary Zaunbrecher and her husband, Matthew.
(This article was published in the winter 2006 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.)