Professors Funing Zhong and Jing Zhu of Nanjing Agricultural University (NAU) recently visited Virginia Tech to meet with students and faculty in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Although both have partnered with faculty in the Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics, this visit was to explore further partnerships between the two universities.

Virginia Tech professor Mary Marchant has worked with Zhong and Zhu on several grants since 2003, including Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) grants of the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and Associate Professor Wen You is currently pursuing collaboration with international universities that will open up opportunities for students at Virginia Tech and at collaborating universities.

Marchant said, “they are a delight! They are both Deans and very accomplished and respected in China. Funing is even Dean of the deans in China.”

During the visit, Zhong and Zhu gave a heavily attended seminar covering Chinese agricultural trade – facts, trends, and policy considerations. Graduate students, faculty members from multiple departments, and college administrators attended and engaged with the Zhong and Zhu during the seminar and throughout their visit.

Further time was scheduled for a private meeting with graduate students in addition to a meeting with Dean Grant, agricultural and applied economics department head Matt Holt, and assistant director for Global Programs Ben Grove. Each meeting was successful and all parties look forward to continuing the partnership, which will likely include future faculty and student exchanges between the two universities.

The visit was sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Center for Agricultural Trade; Virginia Tech’s Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment; and the AFRI grant “Expanding U.S. Market Access in China’s Evolving Agricultural and Trade Policy Environment.”