China may be poised to do something that country hasn’t done since the mid-1990’s, and that may turn out to be a good thing for the United States and its farmers—and specifically, Illinois corn farmers.
A recent tour of China by the U.S. Grains Council determined that they'll have to purchase as much as two-million tons of corn from the U.S. in 2011.
Phil Thornton is Value Enhanced Project Director for the Illinois Corn Growers Association. Thornton says that's good news for Illinois, since some of that grain could very well come from here.
"They (China) do have a good corn crop going on this year," Thornton said. "But, with an increase in livestock production in China, as well as an economic growth in China, they soon will be eating more meat. We foresee a continuation of China purchasing corn from the U.S. for years to come."
Thornton says some of the things that are in Illinois' favor: the rail infrastructure to the Pacific Northwest, containerized freight and the ability to transport via the Illinois, Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.
The tour was part of an annual one the U.S. Grains Council makes to China.
**A version of this story was first posted online by the IL Radio Network.**