SD Education, Business Work In China

May 14, 2014

One business agreement between a South Dakota company and a Chinese industry is a done deal. Business, education, and political leaders from South Dakota are in China this week on a trade mission. Governor Dennis Daugaard says the deal has been in the works, and it happened to come together while the delegation is in Asia. The governor hasn’t disclosed additional details.

Brad Hennrich is a business professional from Watertown’s Hesco company. He’s traveling in China. Hesco produces raw ingredients like wheat, barley and flax that other companies use in finished products. Hennrich says Chinese companies could be big consumers of quality grains. 

"They don’t have the organic certifications and such that the United States has. Our are very stringent. We have food safety certifications and protocols. Those are now being recognized in China, and they have a vast market," Hennrich says. "We all know, we keep hearing about the growing market in China. The middle class is explosive growth. Those people want the safe, quality foods. They want the organic foods."

Hennrich says people in China recognize that their own country has some difficulty providing those products, and American companies offer high-quality options.

South Dakota leaders say the state’s higher education system offer opportunities for students from China. Kathleen Fairfax is Assistant Vice President of International Affairs and Outreach for South Dakota State University. She’s in China to establish education options between South Dakota and Chinese students. Fairfax says colleges in the United States are appealing because China has more students than places at universities.

"They also recognize that in a number of the fields that we offer in engineering, the type of engineering that the Schools of Mines does, for example, SDSU’s Dairy Science program, there’s some cutting edge programs that we offer that are not readily available in China or maybe at only a few elite universities," Fairfax says. "But it’s a very large population with very high-tech needs for the future, so they need that kind of high-tech education."

Fairfax says Chinese students could get that education elsewhere in America, but South Dakota’s tuition rates are considerably better than colleges along the coasts.

The delegation of this trade mission to China returns to South Dakota Friday.