Learning about soybeans and exports -- in Shanghai!

Learning about soybeans and exports -- in Shanghai!

The United Soybean Board is having its annual 'See for Yourself' trip to showcase efforts being made to advance U.S. soybeans and soybean exports

Kansas Farmer has arrived in Shanghai.

We flew into Pudong Airport and on the bus trip to the hotel from the airport learned that until 1993, all the land that is now the "new" part of Shanghai, called Pudong, was farmland. The airport, apartments and all the businesses that support the region were built after that time.

Now, more than 24 million people live in Shanghai and most of those who populate Pudong were relocated here from the countryside in the 1990s.

RIVER BOATS: Cruise vessels line up along the river to pick up or drop off river tour passengers. Like many of the ships this one bears the name of a financial institution: Agricultural Bank of China. Our guide explained this is done for advertising.

The Huangpu River runs right by our hotel. It is a major shipping area and last night we saw barges of containers moving down the river toward the ocean. It is also a huge recreational area and dozens of cruise vessels, most of them with names of financial institutions on them, either unloaded river tour participants or waited for passengers for dinner cruises.

Our guide told us that the Chinese government needed a container port, so they chose a giant rock island about 18 miles out in the ocean and built a causeway from the mouth of the river out to the island, added needed infrastructure along the way.

Now, thousands of ocean going vessels are loaded and unloaded there, including the U.S. soybeans, meal and oil that China imports to feed livestock and people.

We had dinner in an older part of the city in a busy (make that PACKED) marketplace area that was teeming with pedestrians and motorcyclists who just beeped their horns and sped thru. We also observed that motorcycles and bicycles just ignore traffic lights so you have to really watch out when you are crossing the street that you don't get mowed down.

We went to a great dinner place where everything was served family style on big lazy susans in the middle of the table. I have no idea what we ate other than it was roughly described as fish, tofu, beef, chicken, rice, etc.Plenty of uses for soybeans in this food.

One dish of slices shaped like a shellfish, I was told, is "wheat gluten." What a difference! In the U.S., we have people concerned that the slightest trace of gluten as an ingredient in their food is poison and deadly. In China, clever chefs form it into shapes that look like shellfish, season it up and presto, dinner! I found it tasted a bit like wet bread dough until you added the sauce, then it was delicious.

So, now I have a new story for the gluten-terrorized. I ate the stuff pure and it didn't cause me even a moment's agony.

Today, we off to see some aquaculture farms and visit a feed mill to learn more about how our soybeans are being used here in China and what how our checkoff dollars are being spent in the effort to promote the use of more U.S. soybeans and soy products.

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