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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Experiencing the Dairy Industry

To start our Saturday, we toured the Hua Xia Dairy (pronounced “Wa-Shaw”). This dairy is located about one hour East of Beijing in an agriculture industrial park. To begin the tour we met the operators of the dairy in their conference room for informational videos about the dairy. Following the videos we were able to ask questions and sample some “Wonder Milk.” Wonder Milk is the Hua Xia Dairy milk brand; it’s very good!

The Hua Xia group was established in 2004 by several entrepreneurs in California. They began their dairy operation in China with 180 Holsteins from New Zealand. They currently house 5,000 head of dairy cattle, and expect to reach 8,000 by the end of this year.

Computerized milking and feeding systems maximize feeding efficiency. They also produce all of their milk without the use of BST growth hormones or antibiotics. The dairy employs nearly 200 people, with 18 being veterinarians and 4 of those being AI specialists.

The biggest issue that they noted was the inconsistency of feed from local supply. They also mentioned problems with milk quality in China as a whole. Most operations are “backyard” where they do not have good operating procedures or pasteurization processes. After the initial briefing and video we took a tour of the farm. Then we returned to the conference room for Hua Xia Dairy ice cream; again, very good! The tour proved to be very interesting, and their procedures were just as good, if not more tedious, than dairy operations in the United States.
After the dairy we stopped to grab lunch at an authentic Chinese restaurant, which served donkey. We discovered our liking of donkey was better than expected. We also experienced the chance to become Chinese paparazzi. We were obviously one of the very few American groups to stop in.

We were then on our way to practice our bartering skills again at the pearl market. We all were able to walk away with some good bargains. From the pearl market we honed our skills at the silk market. One word to describe this market was “chaos.” Five levels of enthusiastic entrepreneurs, eagerly attempting to sell us their goods! To say the least, our stress levels were maxed out as we tried to make our purchases.

After our afternoon at the markets, we traveled to a local downtown Chinese restaurant for dinner. We then returned to the hotel to get an evening of relaxing sleep. We are all excited for the adventures that lay ahead tomorrow as we travel to the Great Wall, Ming Tomb, the Olympic Stadium, and the Water Cube!

Ashley Mason – University of Western Illinois
Emilie Magnus – Kansas State University


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