Three years ago I got a call from Canada and the caller’s accent was difficult to understand, but I got the gist of what she wanted. A 17-member delegation from China was coming to the United States and she wanted them to meet with CAFA. It was apparent that the delegation’s purpose was to learn as much as possible about alfalfa production. The liaison in Canada suddenly pulled back, but it was obvious the delegation wanted to learn as much as possible about alfalfa in California.

In the past three years we’ve seen China buy alfalfa from the U.S. Last year all alfalfa imports totaled 276,000 tons, a 26 percent increase. The May edition of Hay & Forage Grower, written by Rick Mooney, has interesting data on the subject. According to the article, there’s a “frenetic pace” for the dairy industry to supply people in urban areas. To get an idea of how things are changing, China now has dairies that are milking more than 20,000 cows.

The article is “Why The Chinese Want Our Hay” on page 16 of the May Hay & Forage Grower. You can also see it at,