Chinese businessman spans the globe for SDSU ice cream

Marcus Traxler


Xuiniang Wang is serious about making quality ice cream in China. He found a place in the United States that feels the same way.Wang visited SDSU this

summer to spend two weeks on campus learning from faculty and picking up tips on how to make better ice cream at his farm in China.

Wang’s route to Brookings included a game of telephone. Wang learned about SDSU’s program through a business consultant, who connected with Eldon Nygaard, state senator for District    17, who then contacted SDSU President David Chicoine. Chicoine contacted Department of Dairy Science Head Vikram Mistry about potentially teaching a short course.

Instructor and Dairy Plant Research Manager Howard Bonnemann gave Wang a two-week course covering the most important parts of ice cream manufacturing.

“Mr. Wang was a very focused student, and it was a pleasure to work with him to broaden his understanding of frozen dairy dessert manufacture,” Bonnemann said.

Wang owns a 700-cow dairy, egg and vegetable farm in the Shandong province of China. He hopes to build an ice cream processing plant and parlor in China, as well.

“I appreciated Howard’s instruction,” Wang said earlier this year. “It has been helpful, practical and useful. Before I came here, I knew nothing about ice cream. After spending this time under Howard’s instruction, I now know the history of ice cream and have gained a bigger picture of the ice cream market.”

As one of two dairy science programs in the nation, SDSU was ready to show Wang its ways.

“He’s an entrepreneur, and he has a dairy farm,” Mistry said. “He wanted to learn about making ice cream, and more importantly, he wanted to make good ice cream, and we could help him here.”

The growth and sharing of knowledge is not lost on the leader of SDSU’s dairy science program.

“This is important not only to our country but to our state,” Mistry said. He added that Gov. Dennis Daugaard made a trade mission trip to China in March to learn more about South Dakota exporting soybeans and other agricultural products.

Wang noticed a few differences between dairies in the United States and China during his time in Brookings.

“He couldn’t believe the size of the cows,” Mistry said. “The cows are a lot smaller over there, and we sort of take 75 pounds of milk a day for granted and they can’t really believe it.”

Wang doesn’t speak English, so SDSU had a pair of translators over the course of the classes to help the farmer learn from a different language. The language barrier did little to slow him down.

During his two weeks in South Dakota, Wang toured SDSU’s dairy farms, took part in demonstrations, helped make ice cream and took part in a rigorous classroom schedule. Bonnemann, whose teaching specialty is dairy processing, taught the class one-on-one with Wang for two weeks nearly nonstop. Mistry said the normal curriculum would include five weeks of training every day.

“Having to design a workshop where all of the material would need to be translated was a positive experience,” Bonnemann said. “It forced me to remain focused on the general purpose of presenting a concise workshop on frozen dessert manufacture while at the same time remaining flexible to change the direction of the presentations and laboratory exercises at any point, dependent upon the background and experience of the participant and the translators.”

Mistry said he also learned some from Wang, who told him about how the demand for milk products is growing and that many young people desire to have ice cream, cheese and creams.

“I think he left with a very good impression of how we do ice cream here at SDSU,” Mistry said.