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UCR conference seeks agricultural partnership between U.S., China

UCR conference seeks agricultural partnership between U.S., China

(September 19, 2000)

Riverside, Calif. - In the wake of a Senate vote to normalize trade relations with China, the University of California, Riverside is sponsoring a US/China Agriculture Conference: "Cooperation for Progress in the 21st Century," Monday, Sept. 25 and Tuesday, Sept. 26 at the Riverside Convention Center, 3443 Orange St.

An estimated 200 scholars, high-ranking government figures and industry representatives from China and the U.S. - which together account for 1.5 billion of the earth's six billion people - will discuss the challenge of feeding a growing world population in a way that protects environmental and economic health.

Speakers will include:
  • Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Richard Rominger
  • Vice Minister Bowen Zhang of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture
  • Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, I. Miley Gonzalez
  • University of California Vice President W.R. "Reg" Gomes
    President of China Agriculture University, Beijing, Jiang Shuren
  • UCR Chancellor Raymond L. Orbach
  • Professor Qifa Zhang of Huazhong Agricultural University, one of China's leading experts on biotechnology and the Chinese Rice Program.

These and many other experts will talk about land use, soil quality, water resources, pest management, biotechnology, traditional plant breeding, food processing, trade, environmental protection and labor.

Highlights include a description of biotechnology and the Chinese Rice Program by Professor Zhang Qifa, Director of the National Laboratory of Biotechnology at Huazhong Agricultural University (noon Monday); and a dinner keynote speech by USDA Deputy Secretary Rominger on issues related to the World Trade Organization (7 p.m. Monday).
Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture
Richard Rominger, UCR Chancellor Raymond L. Orbach
and Jiang Shuren, president of the China Agricultural
University, confer Monday night.

On the second day, conference participants will draw up "plans for cooperation" to outline ways that policy-makers and scholars from the U.S. and China can work together to solve agricultural issues shared by two of the world's most agriculturally productive nations.

"This conference is not about the past, but about the future," said Chancellor Orbach, who was instrumental in arranging the chance for an academic exchange with high-ranking Chinese agriculture ministers. "I can think of no more important goal than feeding the world's population," Orbach said. "How do we integrate their science and our science to help the world?"

Professor Brian A. Federici, a UCR entomology professor who also holds an appointment at China's Zhongshan University, is organizing the conference to make sure researchers have a chance to cooperate on finding solutions to crop pests, crop diseases and the world's shrinking inventories of arable land and clean water.
"In the short term, we will be planting the seeds for future cooperation," Federici said. "In the long-run, we are going to find that some of those professional relationships bear fruit in scientific discoveries."

The conference is a joint effort of UCR, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, China Agriculture University, the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the UC Pacific Rim Research Program, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, and the United States Department of Agriculture.

More details about the conference, including a complete schedule, can be found at

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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