Chinese dairy group and CALS Babcock Institute establish new training partnership

Kent Weigel, chair, dairy science department
Karen Nielsen, director, Babcock Institute
Kate VandenBosch, dean and director, UW-Madison, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Shen Weiping, CEO and president, Shanghai Dairy Group

Top executives from the Shanghai Dairy Group, one of the largest players in Chinese dairy processing and milk production, visited campus earlier this month to work out details of a long-term partnership with the Babcock Institute for International Dairy Research and Development.

UW-Madison provost Paul DeLuca is in China this week and plans to meet with SDG  execs on Friday to sign the agreement, under which CALS experts in dairy and related fields will provide training to technicians on dairy farms and other facilities operated by SDG. The training is expected to begin next March.

“The Shanghai Dairy Group told us, specifically, that they would like to improve their milk quality, especially in addition to their breeding programs, nutrition, facilities for cow comfort, and their nutrient management facilities. These are all issues that we can help them with here at the University of Wisconsin. We have a wealth of expertise in all these areas.,” explains Karen Nielsen, Babcock Institute director, in this podcast.

The five-person Chinese delegation was led by SDG president Shen Weiping and Yu Qian, general manager of SDG’s Shanghai Ding Niu Feed Co. The group was greeted by UW-Madison provost Paul DeLuca, CALS dean Kate VandenBosch and senior special assistant to the chancellor Charles Hoslet.

During their morning on campus, SDG representatives held meetings with Nielsen and Babcock Institute outreach specialist David Kantor; Bill Barker and Richelle Martin, Office of Industrial Partnerships; CALS assistant dean John Ferrick (Division of International Programs) and CALS facultynmembers Kent Weigel, Pam Ruegg and Lou Armentano (dairy science) Dan Schaefer (animal sciences) and Brian Holmes (biological systems engineering). At the conclusion of the visit, Chancellor Ward hosted a luncheon for the delegation, attended by representatives of CALS, the State of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin China Initiative.

China has emerged as an important dairy importer and a growing market for U.S. dairy exports, as noted in this analysisby CALS economists Bill Dobson, Fengxia Dong, and Ed Jesse. U.S. dairy exports to China grew from $22 million in 2000 to $237 million in 2010, an eleven-fold increase. In 2010, China became the third largest destination for U.S. dairy exports, accounting for 6.4 percent of the $3.71 billion in total U.S. dairy exports. China is one of the most sought-after markets for U.S. feed, dried dairy products such as whey, farm equipment, consultant services, semen, embryos, calf hutches, and other products and services, many of which are provided by Wisconsin firms.

The Babcock Institute has extensive experience providing training and technical assistance in China, dating back to the early 1990s.