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This little piggy is going to China

John Gress / Reuters

Keith Haarer, a breeding unit manager, moves a newborn piglet to a sow so she can suckle, at Whiteshire Hamroc farm in Albion, Indiana, March 16, 2012. Pictures made available April 19, 2012.

 

John Gress / Reuters

Haarer inspects three-and-a-half month old hogs, many of which are bound for China.

Reuters reports — Inside a dimly lit barn in northeast Indiana, where the air smells faintly of corn and earth, the future of China's food supply is squealing for attention. 

A farmhand shuffles through the crowd of pigs inside pen 7E3, patting their fleshy pink backs and checking their water trough. The animals here at the Whiteshire Hamroc farm have been bred for one purpose: to be flown halfway around the world, on a journey fueled by China's appetite for food independence

Video: Bringing American BBQ to Beijing

In a country where pork is a culinary staple, the demand for a protein-rich diet is growing faster than Chinese farmers can keep up. While Americans cut back on meat consumption to the lowest levels seen in two decades, the Chinese now eat nearly 10 percent more meat than they did five years ago.

China's solution: to super-size its supply by snapping up millions of live animals raised by U.S. farmers as breeding stock - capitalizing on decades of cutting edge agricultural research in America. Read the full story.

John Gress / Reuters

Three-and-a-half-month-old hogs at Whiteshire Hamroc farm.