Demand in China for grains, dairy products, meat and other agricultural goods raised in Iowa is almost certain to continue to grow as the country's wealthier and increasingly urban population demands higher quality and safer foods, participants in the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) China study tour said last week after visiting farms, food processing plants and supermarkets in China and speaking with a range of agricultural officials there.

At the same time, they said, it's clear that the capacity of China's small-scale and relatively undeveloped farms and agricultural infrastructure will not come close to meeting the country's growing food demand for decades, the Iowans said.

"I just can’t see how they will be able to feed themselves with the agriculture they have today," said April Hemmes, a Franklin County Farm Bureau member. "I just think they will be importing corn, soybeans and other products for a long, long time."

Will Frazee, a Montgomery County Farm Bureau member, said that by visiting China he saw firsthand how quickly demand is growing and how ...