Nine South Dakota companies are with Governor Dennis Daugaard on a trade mission in China. This is Daugaard's third trip to China as Governor.
From Inner Mongolia to Beijing and Shanghai, the trade mission has taken Daugaard and companies all over to talk business.
"Since we've been in China, one of our companies has struck a deal for a half-million dollars of product. We were very pleased about that. That was a little quicker than we'd expected. That was a relationship that had been developed during our three years of coming to China. It just happened to come to fruition this week," Daugaard said.
While that business went unnamed, Brad Hennrich, CEO of a Watertown-based specialty grain company, says his group is close to striking a deal as well.
"They do not necessarily have the quality that we have in the United States. Their ground is somewhat poor and their methods are a little bit behind what we are, sometimes greatly behind. What we have in the United States is what they want," Hennrich said.
With a growing middle class, demand for organic products and high quality grains is high. Hesco has the organic certifications that people in China recognize and can't get enough of locally.
"So this has been a really great opportunity for us and something we couldn't have done without the help of the governor's office to bring us over here and show us how it's done and make us feel safe that we can do it over here and do it the correct way," Hennrich said.
A representative from South Dakota State University is along to encourage Chinese students to study in South Dakota. Governor Daugaard is also pursuing a sister-state relationship with Inner Mongolia.