Agribusiness: Lettuce Pray

Chinese farms pin their hopes on new machines--and greens

Hebei province, China's breadbasket, is a long way from Douglas Trett's mechanized, 4,000-acre corn, cotton, nut and wheat farm, north of Fresno, Calif. "I just came back from a field where a man was working barefoot with oxen," Trett says in a tone of wonderment, as if he has just returned from another planet.

It's hard to imagine China's peasant farmers, with their garden-size plots and primitive technology, matching Western agroindustry, but Trett will do his part to get them there. He has been hired by Chinaveg, a private company owned by the Hong Kong venture-capital firm Interasia and other investors....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!