The revelation that the Chinese delegation studying our agricultural practices in central Iowa allegedly rented a storage facility and filled it with patent-protected seed corn is nothing new. Fortunately, someone spotted them bending down in test plots and removing ears of corn. They were stopped at the airport and were found to have pockets of Subway sandwich napkins wrapped around corn kernels. That led to their luggage where more Subway napkins were found filled with the illegal-to-take, top-secret corn and then to the rental shed.
In March, a delegation of Chinese businessmen came by our booth at the International Housewares Show in Chicago, they took pictures of our products with cellphone cameras. There are guards posted and signage everywhere forbidding cameras on the floor of the show. One of my sales managers jumped up and chased them down and made them erase their photos.
So when Gov. Terry Branstad says this is a single incident, itís more like the tip of the iceberg. They take our ideas, our packaging concepts and designs, and then they take our jobs. Afterward, the banks begin to fail because people are unemployed, the government steps in to stop a major collapse and you end up with a lost decade for most middle class Americans. Dear governor, I hate to tell you this, but you caught one of many attempts, some of which have been successful, and itís not just seeds they are after.