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Text of Gov. Branstad’s remarks at USDA agriculture symposium

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today addressed the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) U.S.-China Agricultural Symposium.

The following is Gov. Branstad’s speech, as prepared for delivery this morning at 9:05 a.m. (CST).

I am proud to welcome Vice President Xi and distinguished government and agricultural leaders to the State of Iowa to strengthen the relationships and friendships between our two countries.

I can think of no better place than Iowa to hold agricultural discussions between US and Chinese leaders.

I am also so proud that Iowans are known for the hospitality we show to visitors.  I have truly enjoyed the opportunity to host Vice President Xi and the Chinese delegation for this memorable and historic visit.

Iowa is at the center of an agricultural economy that is in many ways leading our nation’s economic growth.  The Iowa economy is diverse, but the agriculture and bio-sciences industries are vital to our present success and future growth.

Our nation’s farmers continue to surpass innovation, efficiency, sustainability, and productivity milestones that we would not have considered possible a generation ago.

This beautiful World Food Prize building is a tribute Dr. Norman Borlaug, a distinguished Iowan who helped revolutionize agriculture and dramatically reduced hunger throughout the world.

This audience appreciates the new opportunities for the agricultural economy.
For those of you not from Iowa, our State is open for business and I would very much welcome the opportunity to help you find a home in Iowa.

China is an important trading partner for a variety of goods important to Iowa such as corn, soybeans, livestock, and agricultural manufacturing products, just to name a few.

Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and I have set ambitious goals for job creation and increasing family incomes in Iowa.  To achieve our goals, Iowa must continue to embrace opportunities worldwide and develop more friendships and partnership opportunities internationally.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 95 percent of the world’s consumers and 73 percent of the world’s purchasing power live outside of the United States, with a significant portion of each tied to the Chinese economy.

These are statistics which we cannot ignore as a state or nation.

Iowa is extremely lucky to have Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey as our State’s agriculture ambassador.  We are both interested in pursuing potential areas for trade and collaboration with our Chinese friends and look forward to future trips to China.

While we are talking about old friends, I am honored share the stage with Secretary Tom Vilsack and I appreciate the work and collaboration of his team at USDA in organizing today’s important discussions.

Secretary Vilsack needs little introduction to this audience.  As the former governor of Iowa, he also appreciates the value of agriculture to this State.  We both share a passion for this State and our nation’s agricultural producers.

Secretary Vilsack, I look forward to our continued state-federal partnership.  Thank you to you and your Chinese counterparts for organizing such an important conversation in the great State of Iowa.

Please help me welcome Tom Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture.

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