Posted by: mulrickillion | February 23, 2012

Xi climbs behind the wheel in Midwest

Xi climbs behind the wheel in Midwest

Vice-President Xi Jinping tries his hand at operating a tractor during a visit to the family farm of Rick Kimberley in Iowa on Thursday. Xi is on a five-day visit to the United States. [Photo/Xinhua].

By Zhang Yuwei and Tan Yingzi, Feb 18, 2012 — MAXWELL / DES MOINES, Iowa – Maybe he just feels comfortable in the driver’s seat, but Vice-President Xi Jinping surprised his hosts on Thursday when he suddenly climbed into the cab of a tractor on an Iowa farm.

"I hope everything you plant this spring will have a good harvest when the season comes," said Xi during his visit to the Kimberley farm, about 60 kilometers northeast of Des Moines, Iowa.

The Kimberley family felt "excited and honored but also a little nervous" when Xi toured its multigeneration corn and soybean farm.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for us," said Rick Kimberley, 61, owner of the farm.

The vice-president’s amiable manners immediately put the family at ease. Sitting in their living room by a fireplace prior to heading into the fields, Xi chatted with the family.

"How’s life here? Is it convenient?" asked Xi about daily life on the farm.

Martha Kimberley, Rick’s wife, said Xi was "very personable."

The Kimberley family said it has received delegations from time to time, but never at this high level.

Their grain farm is considered a large farm in the area. Rick Kimberley started farming in 1972 with his father, who purchased this 64-hectare farm back in 1950.

Kirk Leeds, CEO of Iowa Soybean Association, said he hopes this visit will bring the relationship between Iowa and China to "a higher level".

"We are here to help supply to Chinese people," said Leeds, who was on the tour and is going with Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds to China next month on an eight-day trade mission to explore more opportunities in agricultural cooperation.

"We produce more than we consume so we have to rely on trade, and on China, with its population and growing economy. It’s great to be its trading partner," said Grant Kimberley, 36, the son of the family who has visited China regularly for soybean business since 2008.

"This visit is about friendship and building a relationship, that’s where trade begins," said Grant Kimberly.

By the time they were saying goodbye to Xi, the Kimberley family’s nervousness of earlier in the morning had dissipated.

"We want to visit China as soon as the harvest season is gone. We think the visit has built a good relationship already". . . .

During the event, US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and China’s Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu signed a Plan of Strategic Cooperation that will guide the two countries’ agricultural relationship for the next five years.

In 2011, China became the top market for US agricultural exports, and the value of US farm exports to China supported more than 160,000 American jobs, according to US Department of Agriculture. China is the largest buyer of US soybeans, purchasing about 60 percent of a typical export crop. . . .

Xi climbs behind the wheel in Midwest|China top pics|chinadaily.com.cn

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