Wednesday was a travel day, as we left Beijing for Kunming in southwestern China. Wednesday also brought our first slight departure from the schedule, as our flight was delayed more than an hour. We made it to Kunming just in time for the ceremony marking the signing of our agreement of mutual understanding with the Yunnan Department of Agriculture.
Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, Deputy Director-General Zhang Zhize and Sen. Bob Atwater signed the agreement. Afterward, we celebrated the agreement over a dinner of Chinese cuisine. (Our thanks to the Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, N.C. Farm Bureau, N.C. Soybean Producers Association, Burley Stabilization Corp. and N.C. Agribusiness Council for their support of this event.)
The agreement represents the beginning of a dialogue between the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Yunnan Department of Agriculture about ways the two can work together to benefit agriculture in both regions. Like North Carolina, Yunnan Province is a major tobacco producer. Yunnan also produces cut flowers, sugar cane and potatoes, among other crops.
Tomorrow, Yunnan officials will lead us on a tour of some area farms and a local cigarette factory. Tomorrow night, we fly to Guangzhou, where we will take part in a soybean conference on Friday morning before heading by train to Hong Kong to meet with more N.C. ag customers.
UPDATED: Now that I’m back in North Carolina and no longer prevented from uploading to YouTube, I’ve added video of the signing ceremony.