DES MOINES, Iowa – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and China's Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu signed on to a plan that will guide agricultural relations between the US and China for the next five years.

The Plan of Strategic Cooperation was signed as part of the US-China Agricultural Symposium held in Des Moines on Feb. 17. The symposium is a forum to strengthen cooperation between the US on China the areas of food safety, food security and sustainable agriculture.

"This plan builds on the already strong relationship our nations enjoy around agricultural science, trade, and education," Vilsack said. "It looks to deepen our cooperation through technical exchange and to strengthen coordination in priority areas like animal and plant health and disease, food security, sustainable agriculture, genetic resources, agricultural markets and trade, and biotechnology and other emerging technologies."

China became the top market for US during the 2011 fiscal year, according to USDA. China bought $20 billion in US agricultural exports. The value of US farm exports to China supported more than 160,000 US jobs in 2011, on and off the farm across a variety of sectors, the agency said.