American Observations on Life in China

Life in ChinaCities and Swine Seemingly everywhere one looks China offers two views of today. Outside the Weifang train station, open spaces and modern, even futuristic buildings give the appearance of a prosperous nation ready to lead on the world stage. In truth, many of the offices and apartments we observed were empty. The leaders use construction to employ the people on the assumption that it's cheaper to build today than it will be tomorrow. Inside these buildings are cement walls and roughed in plumbing. Around the corner you see workers on a bamboo raft clearing algae from a retention pond, using technology of decades past.

My recent China sojourn, with JBS-United, was a reminder of the massive changes our North American swine industry has embraced. Internal issues (genetics, disease, feed quality) and external issues (feed costs, blasted hot weather, immigration) have been dealt with and cataloged for future "black swan" events. The overwhelming sense of purpose, unity, vast resources that I viewed as we traveled is offset by flexibility, adaptability, hygiene and husbandry here at home. It's easy to be awed by the China machine but we have the lead and the know-how to maintain it [Editor note: text and photo Ned Arthur, SwineCast].