WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A group of nearly 80 visitors from
China filed out of two large tour buses during a visit to Purdue University.
The group was from Stanley Fertilizer, the largest compound
fertilizer business in China. They recently visited Purdue in an effort to build
relationships and learn about American fertilizer practices.
The group also will visit Chicago, New York and Washington,
“The impression is that in the U.S. farming is on a large
scale,” said Zhang Lei, vice president of Stanley. “It’s very impressive to us.
We want to see what can be adopted for Chinese farmers.”
In China, farms typically are on small plots, making it less
feasible to invest in large pieces of machinery, he said. However, they are
interested in implementing practices similar to those in the U.S.
They also must learn how to grow, while still keeping in
mind government policies and regulations that are different than those in the
U.S., Zhang said.
The company’s leaders asked Purdue professors for advice on
how to make the most of their operation.
“We came here to Purdue after Professor Cliff gave us some
inspiration on the right direction to go,” Zhang said.
Cliff Johnston, professor of soil chemistry and mineralogy
at Purdue, visited China last July to give a seminar to the company.
Johnston said that having a global focus is important to the
“Purdue has the largest number of international students of
public colleges in the U.S.,” he said.
“We have 4,000 students studying here from China and 9,000
international students total. Purdue is a very global school,” he noted.