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Cochran Fellowship Program Marks 25th Anniversary

One of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) most noteworthy programs, the Cochran Fellowship Program (CFP), is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The CFP provides U.S.-based agricultural training opportunities for senior and mid-level specialists and administrators from public and private sectors concerned with agricultural trade, agribusiness development, management, policy, and marketing.

Today, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is meeting with a group of former Cochran fellows during his visit to Shanghai. The CFP has provided training to 660 Chinese fellows since 1989, including 19 in 2009 to-date and 30 in 2008. Fields of study have included food safety, meat and poultry inspection, dairy management, and plant variety and protection.

Cochran Fellows work around the world to better the agricultural situation in their respective countries. The continued success of this program is a testament to the U.S. government’s support of its trading partners by investing in people through education, technical assistance, and trade capacity building.

One of this year’s CFP plant variety and protection team members had this to say about the program: “The (Cochran) Program grants a valuable opportunity to us to learn the U.S. system and exchange opinions with our counterparts in the United States. We believe this is an excellent opportunity to enhance bilateral cooperation and understanding, and hope to have more similar opportunities in the future.”

Madam Wang Liwen, the deputy division director of the China National Feed/Feed Additive Review and Approval Committee was the team leader for the Ministry of Agriculture/Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine Pet Food program this year. She believes the Cochran Program is “a special bridge connecting all agricultural and food related sectors between the United States and China.” Ms. Liwen said that during her visit to the United States, she learned a lot about the U.S. pet food regulatory system in addition to the advanced technology and management system adopted by the industry to ensure all pets have the same level of food safety as humans.

“The USDA officials, pet food industry leaders, facility managers and scientists we met are so friendly and knowledgeable to share their experience and lessons with us,” Liwen said. “I am sure the trip will facilitate pet food trade between the United States and China, and also the development of China’s pet food industry.”

To learn more about the program and eligibility requirements, visit our Web site.

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