WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — U.S. Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse will lead nearly 40 American businesses on a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) trade mission to China March 23-28.

U.S. agricultural exports to China have grown more than 80% in the past three years. The USDA trade mission aims to help American businesses strike new deals, strengthen business ties, expand their markets, and support jobs for Americans.

"This is the largest USDA trade mission to date," said Scuse. "China and the U.S. share a special relationship, and we embrace this opportunity to demonstrate that our U.S. farmers, ranchers, and producers are reliable suppliers of the highest-quality food and agricultural products. At the same time, USDA and our federal partners will continue to aggressively work to expand export opportunities and reduce barriers to trade."

Also joining Scuse on the mission are leaders from six state departments of agriculture, including Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, Oklahoma Agriculture Secretary Jim Reese and representatives from North Carolina, Illinois, Kansas and South Dakota. In Shanghai, the delegation will be joined by Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Darci Vetter and Ambassador Islam Siddiqui, who is the chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

During stops in Chengdu and Shanghai, participants will meet with dozens of Chinese producers, importers, buyers, distributors and investors. The mission also coincides with the Food Ingredients China (FIC) trade show where Scuse will cut the ribbon to open the show's USA Pavilion.

For more information, visit http://www.fas.usda.gov/icd/ATM/China2012/default.asp.

U.S. companies participating in the mission include AgWorld International; Airfresh Seafood; The Biltmore Company; C.I.B.; CK International, Ltd.; Case New Holland; China Iowa Group; Cranberry Marketing; Dantzler; Des Moines Area CC; Diamond V; Dodge City Beef; Duck Pond Cellars; Faegre B.D. Consulting; Far West Fruit Co.; Garuda International; Glacier Treasures; Herr's Foods Inc.; KH International; Kerns and Associates; Land 'O Lakes Purina; North Food Group; OSI Group; Pacific Ag Commodities; PS International Ltd.; Sage Hill; SIG International; Spring Lake Winery; Stine Seed Company; Sun-Maid Growers CA; Syngenta, LLC; Taylor Brothers Farms; Ten Square Int.; U.S.-China Ag Center; U.S. Grains Council; Valley Pride Sales, Inc.; Valley Proteins, Inc.; Vermeer Corporation; and World Wood Wholesale.