Chinese VP visits family farm in Iowa

DES MOINES, the United States, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who is on a five-day official visit to the United States, toured a family farm in the central state of Iowa on Thursday.

Rick Kimberley, a 61-year-old soybean and corn farmer, and his family greeted Xi and his entourage in front of their house, together with Iowa State Governor Terry Branstad, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and others.

When Grant Kimberley, Rick Kimberley's 36-year-old son, greeted Xi by saying "Ni Hao" (hello in Chinese). Xi responded with a gentle nod and a big smile.

Grant, who runs the family farm together with his father, has traveled to China four times, with another trip slated for March.

Xi sat down on a living room sofa next to Rick Kimberley, with the latter's 8-month-old grandson Austin gurgling on his mother Natalie's lap.

Xi said he was very glad to visit the Kimberley family farm. "Would you like your family to keep doing farming?" he asked Rick, through an interpreter.

"Yes, we're very interested in Grant continuing to farm," answered Rick, who has farmed for over 40 years. He then gestured toward his grandson, saying that perhaps the coming generations would end up following the family trade, too.

Xi also asked a variety of questions on production work and management of the farm, including how they read market signs and signals, how to weather years of poor harvests, how to guarantee environmental protection, and whether they had trouble gaining financing for crops.

Calling the farm "a very homey environment," Xi said he really enjoyed it.

The elder Kimberley then showed Xi around the farm, introducing him several large pieces of equipment, including a tractor trailer and a combine and seed planter.

Xi then climbed onto the tractor trailer with Rick Kimberley and tried his hand at operating the machine.

At the end of the farm tour, Xi shook Rick Kimberley's hand and wished him a better harvest this year.

Iowa was the second leg of Xi's U.S. visit. He visited Washington on Monday and Tuesday before coming to Iowa. The last stop is Los Angeles.

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