Project lends a hand, boosts dairy trade with China


photo by Jeff Miller, UW-Madison


Karen Nielsen, Director
Babcock Institute for International Dairy Research and Development
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
(608) 265-416

Karen Nielson explains how UW partnership with Chinese dairy benefits both the University of Wisconsin and China.






3:06 – Total Time minutes

0:16 – Why China looks to Wisconsin
0:42 – What they want from UW-Madison
1:09 – Who we’re working with in China
1:37 – Potential for trade
1:59 – What’s in the new agreement
2:19 – The new Chinese dairy business
2:45 – Benefits to the university and state
2:56 – Lead out


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Sevie Kenyon: Karen, give us a little background on what’s going on between the university and China.

Karen Nielsen: They need training because, traditionally, in most parts of China dairy was not part of their economy or their culture. This is something the government’s decided would be really helpful for helping with rural development, keeping people in the countryside and providing them with a livelihood that actually supports families, and also to improve nutrition, especially in the countryside.

Sevie Kenyon: Karen, what are they coming to the university looking for?

Karen Nielsen: 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. So, 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.

Sevie Kenyon: Tell us a little bit about who you’re working with in China?

Karen Nielsen: Currently, we’re working with a group called the Shanghai Dairy Group based in Shanghai. The Shanghai Dairy Group is a very large company; they have a dairy institute, they have dairy farms, and they have dairy processing. They’re one of the largest dairy processors in China and they’re one of the most progressive groups so they’re actually looking to truly improve the way they take care of their cows and the quality of their milk.

Sevie Kenyon: Karen, can you give us a sense of the potential here?

Karen Nielsen: Well, for Wisconsin products I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to sell feed, inputs for dairy farms, expertise consulting. We’re already selling a lot of different products into China and especially to the Shanghai Dairy Group.

Sevie Kenyon: Karen, do you have a sense of when this is going to start to accelerate?

Karen Nielsen: What’s new for us is that the Babcock Institute and the University of Wisconsin is going to begin providing intensive dairy training programs for this group in China and the more advanced people here in Wisconsin.

Sevie Kenyon: Karen, can you give us a sense of what the Chinese want their dairy business to look like?

Karen Nielsen: The biggest thing is they want to be able to trust their milk and they want their consumers to be able to trust the milk. Chinese people who can afford to, buy imports because they still do not trust the domestic product. The Shanghai Dairy Group is a progressive group, they would like to keep their brand clean and they want to keep that reputation strong.

Sevie Kenyon: Karen, what do you expect this to be like for the university?

Karen Nielsen: This would be great for Wisconsin’s reputation as the center for dairy excellence in the world and I think we want to continue to support that reputation throughout the world.

Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Karen Nielsen, Director, Babcock Institute, University of Wisconsin in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, WI and I’m Sevie Kenyon.

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